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Tracy loves playing to the crowd Tracy loves playing to the crowdIt was only the first practice for tomorrow's Champ Car Grand Prix of Montreal, but the boo birds were in full voice when Toronto's Paul Tracy spun out his No. 3 Forsythe Championship Racing Lola at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in the first turn.

The fans were reacting to a call from the French drivers to diss Tracy for his comments about French drivers not taking off their helmets when they wanted to start a fight.

The crowd stood and cheered when the jumbo video screens around the track showed Tracy going off into the grass.

But if the fan antics bothered Tracy, he sure wasn't showing it.

The 37-year-old Thrill from West Hill turned to the crowd and waved when he emerged from his stalled race car.

"I have never had so much attention in my whole career," Tracy said. "I'm having the time of my life."

Some fans came to the track wearing helmets, hoping to get under Tracy's skin, but all he did was laugh when a pair of them staged a mock fight across from his pit stall without taking off their head gear.

"Look at those guys," Tracy said. "If I weren't here to boo, they wouldn't be having any fun at all."

Cunningham all the way at Infineon Cunningham all the way at InfineonResults Saturday of the Carneros 100 IRL Indy Pro Series event Aug. 26 at the 2.3-mile Infineon Raceway, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, chassis, laps completed, reason out (if any) and money earned: 
1. (1) Wade Cunningham, Dallara, 30, Running $23,159
2. (2) Alex Lloyd, Dallara, 30, Running $17,045
3. (4) Nick Bussell, Dallara, 30, Running $13,636
4. (3) Jonathan Klein, Dallara, 30, Running $11,591
5. (6) Bobby Wilson, Dallara, 30, Running $11,250
6. (7) Mike Potekhen, Dallara, 30, Running $10,909
7. (10) Jaime Camara, Dallara, 30, Running $10,568
8. (8) Ryan Justice, Dallara, 30, Running $10,227
9. (11) Micky Gilbert, Dallara, 30, Running $9,886
10. (5) Jay Howard, Dallara, 29, Running $9,545
11. (9) Scott Mansell, Dallara, 29, Running $8,863
12. (13) Racer Kashima, Dallara, 29, Running $8,182
13. (14) P.J. Abbott, Dallara, 27, Running $7,841
14. (12) Daniel Gaunt, Dallara, 18, Mechanical $7,500       

Race Statistics      
Winner's average speed: 85.278 mph      
Time of race: 48:32.8171      
Margin of victory: 0.6018 of a second      
Cautions: 3 caution flags for 4 laps      
Lead changes: 0 lead changes      
Lap leaders: Cunningham 1-30.      
Point standings: Howard 324, Klein 311, Wilson 295, Cunningham
295, Bussell 278, Camara 268, Lloyd 210, Van Blankers 179, Festa
175, Matos 154.

Newman/Haas gets No. 100 Newman/Haas gets No. 100In winning the pole position today in Montreal, Sebastien Bourdais secured the 100th Champ Car pole position for the Newman/Haas team.

(On winning 25 of NHR’s 100 poles:) “It’s great.  I guess I'm really part of the family now because, obviously, to be part of a quarter of all the poles that the team has achieved is quite something in only four years.  It just shows how good this group has become over the years.  I take my hat off to these boys because, you know, they made it happen.  I'm not alone in the car.  A good driver without a good car can't do anything.  I rely a lot on these boys, so it's a great feeling.

Tracy mocks Québécois Tracy mocks QuébécoisPaul Tracy sure knows how to generate rivalries in the Champ Car Series and this year he appears to single-handedly be getting the Champ Car Series a bulk of its publicity. After talking up his rivalry with the 'French' drivers in the series in the media this week, he came to the track on Friday and drove around waving to the Quebec fans while they booed him. Today Tracy donned a goofy hat (shown right) with two Quebec flags on top to further mock the French Canadians. While Tracy was in the pits the fans in the full grandstands across from the pits were shouting various obscenities to him throughout.

When French driver Sebastien Bourdais won the pole a huge cheer went up from the crowd. When it comes to making media headlines, Tracy gets it. In fact in one of this morning's newspaper it wasn't provisional pole sitter Sebastien Bourdais getting the main headlines, it was Tracy.

Industry News
Nissan: Buy now, pay later Nissan: Buy now, pay laterNissan Motor Co., the Japanese automaker led by famed CEO Carlos Ghosn, may not be immune to the sales struggles facing Detroit automakers.

Nissan is launching an aggressive incentive program today that allows customers to buy a car now and not make a payment until 2007. The offer is good on all 2006 and 2007 Nissan models, according to information sent to dealers and obtained by The Detroit News.

But there's one catch: the "No Payments until 2007" deal is not available in Michigan, Maine and Pennsylvania. Nissan officials could not say late Thursday why the states were excluded.

The buy now, pay later offer comes as the Japanese automaker is struggling to attract buyers. Demand for Nissan cars and trucks is off 8 percent in the Unites States this year and the automaker hasn't posted a monthly sales gain since February.  More at Detroit News

Tim Sauter hospitalized Tim Sauter hospitalizedUPDATE Tim Sauter was released from a Bristol Regional Medical Center on Saturday morning after being involved in a grinding crash late in the Food City 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway on Friday night.  Sauter was held overnight for observation and was released Saturday morning, a NASCAR spokesman said.

08/26/06 NASCAR Busch Series driver Tim Sauter was admitted to a local hospital after being involved in a grinding crash late in the Food City 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

According to a NASCAR spokesperson, Sauter will be held overnight for observation. The sanctioning body expects an update on Sauter's condition Saturday morning.

Dennis willing to release Montoya early....but Dennis willing to release Montoya early....butMcLaren say they are willing to release Juan Pablo Montoya from his Formula One contract providing they do not have to keep paying his salary to the end of the year.

His Formula One contract expires at the end of the year.

"There are obviously some requests coming in from Chrysler," McLaren boss Ron Dennis told reporters at the Turkish Grand Prix on Saturday.

"We have no problem releasing Juan Pablo prematurely. We just don't see that we should be doing that and paying him at the same time.

"We are absolutely comfortable with either releasing him and stopping paying him or he stays in the position," he said, adding there were also commercial complications.

"These things...impact on people's advertising programs and the marketing programs," he said. "There are repercussions to prematurely terminating his contract."

Piquet Triumph Tightens Screw on Hamilton Piquet Triumph Tightens Screw on HamiltonNelson Piquet Jr has won today’s GP2 series race at Istanbul Park Turkey, from Lewis Hamilton and Alex Prémat. The Brazilian led from start to finish to record his fourth race win of the year by over 17 seconds. His points for first place, coupled with his two points for pole position and point for fastest race lap, mean that he has closed the championship gap on Lewis to just six points with three races remaining. Lewis and Alex’s podium positions, however, mean that their ART Grand Prix team now has an unassailable lead in the teams’ championship and will duly be crowned 2006 GP2 series champions in two weeks’ time in Monza.

Race Report. Nelson led the field away as the lights went out, with José María López desperately slow off the line to and swamped by a gaggle of the cars around him. The new order after the first corner saw Alex in second, with Giorgio Pantano third, José fourth, Adam Carroll fifth and Lewis losing a place to sit sixth. As José and Adam tussled through the opening corners, the pair ran wide and Lewis sailed by Adam, eventually taking José in the run down to the final complex for fourth. But the cheers around the circuit rang out for Giorgio, who had executed a beautiful pass on Alex just moments earlier to the delight of the fans who have adopted the Italian team through its Turkish sponsor Petrol Ofisi, and local driver Jason Tahinci. zzzz

As Nelson pulled out fastest lap after fastest lap, Lewis caught his team-mate. The Briton may be in the midst of an epic title battle with Nelson, but that wasn’t going to stop Alex from making his life any easier than it absolutely needed to be. The pair ran side by side through almost the entire final half of the second lap, before Lewis carried the momentum out of the final corner and glided past the Frenchman at Turn One at the start of lap three.

José meanwhile was in for his pitstop on lap 7, but it was a long one and he dropped way down the order on his return to the track. He would eventually finish ninth after a brilliant and battling drive. One lap later, and a rampant Lewis had caught and passed Giorgio, again at Turn One. The local crowd were destined not to get their dream win, as just six laps later the Italian slowed and retired.

Lewis finally stopped on lap 15 but was delayed by a few seconds with a problem on the right rear gun. He was soon on his way though, and emerged ahead of Alex. Nelson finally made his stop eight laps later and, having changed all four tires, went back out and set a string of fastest laps to pull out almost 18 seconds on Lewis by the checkered flag. Alex finished a fine third with Timo Glock right on his tail following a great race from tenth on the grid. Lucas di Grassi had stopped late like Nelson and had also driven a strong race to take fifth, with Adam sixth, Andreas Zuber a fine seventh and Xandi Negrão eighth for the final point and another Sunday pole to add to his collection.

1st Nelson Piquet Jr – Piquet Sports. 55:59.398
I’m happy. It wasn’t easy as Lewis was pushing very fast. I couldn’t make any mistakes and the pitstop had to go perfectly. Everything had to be right and that’s how it happened.

2nd Lewis Hamilton – ART Grand Prix. +17.879
To come from fifth was really good for us. We needed the points as Nelson is getting close and we had good race pace. Nelson and I are yet to have a wheel to wheel battle so I hope we get that tomorrow.

3rd Alex Prémat – ART Grand Prix. +23.964
I made a really good start, but the car was hard to drive on the first set of tires. I stopped early and the car was better. It wasn’t easy to keep Timo behind, but I’m happy with third and I’ll push tomorrow.

1. Nelson Piquet Jr Piquet 34 laps 55m 59.398s
2. Lewis Hamilton ART +17.879s
3. Alexandre Premat ART +23.964s
4. Timo Glock iSport +24.590s
5. Lucas di Grassi Durango +36.882s
6. Adam Carroll Racing Engineering +41.706s
7. Andreas Zuber Trident +42.171s
8. Alexandre Negrao Piquet +49.170s
9. Jose Maria Lopez Super Nova +56.946s
10. Luca Filippi BCN +63.677s
11. Sergio Hernandez Durango +69.515s
12.. Franck Perera DAMS +70.378s
13. Michael Ammermuller Arden +72.278s
14. Nicolas Lapierre Arden +72.427s
15. Javier Villa Racing Engineering +77.383s
16. Vitaly Petrov DPR +83.863s
17. Jason Tahinci FMS +93.817s
Rtd Ferdinando Monfardini DAMS +2 laps
Rtd Felix Porteiro Campos +4 laps
Rtd Hiroki Yoshimoto BCN 17 laps completed
Rtd Giorgio Pantano FMS 26 laps completed
Rtd Clivio Piccione DPR 26 laps completed
Rtd Adrian Valles Campos 26 laps completed
Rtd Ernesto Viso iSport 26 laps completed
Rtd Fairuz Fauzy Super Nova 26 laps completed
Rtd Gianmaria Bruni Trident 25 laps completed

Ford has withdrawn proposed 2007 engine plans Ford has withdrawn proposed 2007 engine plansToyota, Chevrolet, Dodge and Ford all submitted new engine designs for next season's Nextel Cup tour. Rivals suspect that Ford's withdrawal may be to pressure NASCAR to rethink the other manufacturers' designs. But NASCAR's John Darby, the Nextel Cup tour director, insisted that Ford's move won't affect NASCAR's thinking about the other three engine designs.

"Toyota had to build an engine because it currently doesn't have an engine that's acceptable in Cup," Darby said. "Chevrolet and Dodge are just updating their architecture; I don't think that has anything to do with Toyota.

"Ford has withdrawn, feeling it wants a little longer to get it right before putting it onto the playing field. Ford is fairly confident its parts and pieces won't put it at a disadvantage in 2007."

However Ford's Jack Roush complains that NASCAR changed the engine rules in midseason: "In February we were encouraged (by NASCAR) to do a new engine block but not to do new cylinder heads. In May we were told that others were submitting new heads as well as new blocks but that blocks were all anyone was going to get. The first of August we were told that others were getting new heads to go with the new blocks and if we had anything to put on the table they would consider it.

"We were misled." Winston Salem Journal

NASCAR approves Camry decals NASCAR approves Camry decalsThe Toyota Camry has been approved for 2007, NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton said Friday.

The engine likely will be approved in the coming weeks, Pemberton said.  "That car is done and has been approved," Pemberton said. "[Engine-wise], they've brought parts and it should be done by the end of this month."

Paddock news from Istanbul: 3 Paddock news from Istanbul: 3(GMM) Former triple world champion Niki Lauda, whose son Mathias is a professional racing driver, is reportedly expecting another child, according to reports.

The magazine 'News' wrote that the 57-year-old, still a member of F1's traveling fraternity as a German-language commentator, is due to be a father for the third time as current partner Birgit Wetzinger is apparently pregnant. Predictably, Lauda would not confirm the news.

F1 drivers' representative body, the 'GPDA', has deferred its elections until a later date without giving a 'specific reason', Michael Schumacher revealed on Saturday.

The body had been due to vote for a new board of directors at Istanbul, where it was rumored that a backlash against the 'Rascasse' affair could have been Schumacher's removal.

Wing failure causes Bourdais crash Wing failure causes Bourdais crashA front wing failure sent Sebastien Bourdais into the outside wall in the final corner during this morning's final Champ Car practice session in Montreal.  The car was not badly damaged and Bourdais will qualify his primary car.
Montreal: Hinchcliffe nips Rahal for Atlantic pole Montreal: Hinchcliffe nips Rahal for Atlantic poleOn a perfect day in Canada, native son James Hinchcliffe of Toronto claimed his first career Pole Position as he set fast lap of the weekend with time running out in Final Qualifying for Sunday's Champ Car Grand Prix of Montreal Atlantic Race. After fighting a loose condition early in the session, Forsythe Championship Racing's Atlantic squad made some changes to the #3 Emexis car that paid off as "Hinch" jumped to the top of the leaderboard with less than one minute to go.  Starting up front could be especially important in Sunday's race as rain is a possibility.

Hinchcliffe was followed in the order by teammate Leonardo Maia who scored his best starting position of the year as he claimed fourth fastest time of the day.  Andreas Wirth, third in the Championship point standings, and Richard Philippe, the youngest driver in the field, also finished a strong day for the Forsythe Team as they secured Top Ten starting spots.

Hinchcliffe: "What can I say?  It's been my dream since I started in karting to get to perform on a stage like this here in Montreal and to win my first career Pole in Canada is still kind of hard to believe.  It wasn't that long ago that I was watching the Atlantics on TV and wondering what I could do if I got the chance, and Jerry Forsythe has given me that chance.  I need to thank my team for giving me a great car all weekend and thanks to the fans here in Quebec for their support.  It looks like we may get rain for the race tomorrow and I've managed to get a couple of wet test sessions in this year.  The Emexis car is very good in the wet so I'm ready; bring it on!"

Pos Driver Car# Lap Time
1 James Hinchcliffe 3 1:32.171
2 Graham Rahal 18 1:32.269
3 Simon Pagenaud 15 1:32.320
4 Leonardo Maia 7 1:32.434
5 Raphael Matos 6 1:32.485
6 David Martinez 4 1:32.568
7 Alan Sciuto 12 1:32.597
8 Jonathan Bomarito 23 1:32.604
9 Andreas Wirth  37 1:32.719
10 Richard Philippe 33 1:32.840
11 Joe D'Agostino 34 1:32.844
12 Michael Patrizi 5 1:32.979
13 Colin Fleming 14 1:32.988
14 Robbie Pecorari 28 1:33.229
15 Ronnie Bremer 21 1:33.233
16 Danilo Dirani 1 1:33.456
17 Steve Ott 35 1:33.558
18 Justin Sofio 26 1:33.609
19 Alex Sperafico 10 1:33.884
20 Antoine Bessette 8 1:34.197
21 Brian Thienes 19 1:34.290
22 Tim Bridgman 2 1:35.004
23 Ryan Lewis 30 1:35.293
24 Casey Neal 31 1:36.720

Montreal: Allmendinger gaps field in final practice Montreal: Allmendinger gaps field in final practice
Pos Driver # Lap Time
1 A. Allmendinger 7 1:20.280
2 P. Tracy 3 1:21.004
3 J. Wilson 9 1:21.053
4 S. Bourdais 1 1:21.193
5 N. Philippe 4 1:21.443
6 O. Servia 6 1:21.443
7 W. Power 5 1:21.639
8 B. Junqueira 2 1:21.695
9 A. Tagliani 15 1:21.734
10 C. Zwolsman 34 1:22.055
11 A. Ranger 27 1:22.073
12 D. Clarke 14 1:22.244
13 A. Pizzonia 18 1:22.277
14 M. Dominguez 19 1:22.412
15 J. Heylen 11 1:22.547
16 K. Legge 20 1:22.727
17 N. Pastorelli 8 1:22.961
Montreal: Rahal tops final Atlantic practice Montreal: Rahal tops final Atlantic practice
Pos Driver Car# Lap Time
1 Graham Rahal 18 1:32.304
2 Simon Pagenaud 15 1:32.565
3 James Hinchcliffe 3 1:32.612
4 Jonathan Bomarito 23 1:32.699
5 David Martinez 4 1:32.739
6 Alan Sciuto 12 1:32.768
7 Leonardo Maia 7 1:32.827
8 Richard Philippe 33 1:33.058
9 Ryan Lewis 30 1:33.119
10 Ronnie Bremer 21 1:33.153
11 Raphael Matos 6 1:33.194
12 Andreas Wirth  37 1:33.284
13 Michael Patrizi 5 1:33.321
14 Steve Ott 35 1:33.440
15 Danilo Dirani 1 1:33.634
16 Joe D'Agostino 34 1:33.820
17 Robbie Pecorari 28 1:33.912
18 Justin Sofio 26 1:33.998
19 Colin Fleming 14 1:34.154
20 Brian Thienes 19 1:34.242
21 Antoine Bessette 8 1:34.376
22 Tim Bridgman 2 1:34.460
23 Casey Neal 31 1:36.661
24 Alex Sperafico 10 1:59.862
Kenseth Makes late race pass on Harvick for win Kenseth Makes late race pass on Harvick for winMatt Kenseth held his breath and made an outside lane pass of Kevin Harvick with 17 laps remaining to win the Food City 250 NASCAR Busch Series race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway Friday night.

Kenseth started fourth in the Ameriquest Mortgage Ford, and paced himself for a late race charge to the front. It was his first NASCAR Busch Series win in 13 starts so far in 2006, and the first NASCAR Busch Series win ever for veteran crew chief Jimmy Fenning.

His gutsy outside pass of Harvick on the tricky high-banked concrete Bristol surface was made out of necessity, Kenseth said.

“It was the only way I could pass him,” Kenseth said of the move, adding that Harvick was protecting the less treacherous inside lane from a pass attempt. zzzz

U.S. Coast Guard Chevrolet driver Harvick, who tapped his way passed the Auto Value/Bumper-to-Bumper Dodge of Kasey Kahne with about 50 laps to go, saluted Kenseth for the pass. “It was just good, hard Bristol racing,” Harvick said. He started 30th in the event.

Ron Hornaday Jr. surged by Kahne in the closing laps to take third. Kahne placed fourth after starting last in the race followed by Jason Leffler. Completing the top-10 were pole-sitter Ryan Newman, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, David Reutimann, and Paul Menard.

Harvick unofficially extended his series point lead over Edwards to 519 points.

The race was punctuated by 14 caution flags.

Ferrari 1-2 in qualifying Ferrari 1-2 in qualifyingA driving error surely cost Michael Schumacher pole position for Sunday's grand prix in Istanbul, but Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa picked up the pieces to score his first career pole.

Renault's Fernando Alonso qualified third, while fifth placed Ralf Schumacher will drop to fifteenth after the Toyota team changed his engine. More later......
Schu scolded by driver rivals Schu scolded by driver rivals(GMM) Ferrari and Michael Schumacher have dominated the weekend so far in Turkey, but in a drivers' meeting his fellow racers criticised him for his tactics at the end of the recent Hungarian race.

The argument, which reportedly lasted up to ten minutes, centred on the closing stages at Budapest, where the Ferrari driver fought ferociously against Pedro de la Rosa and Nick Heidfeld, then retired after clashing with the latter.

Making their views clearest were de la Rosa, Alex Wurz and Jarno Trulli, according to sources.
Tracy says Bourdais needs to get facts straight Tracy says Bourdais needs to get facts straightChamp Car 'bad-boy,' Paul Tracy told AutoRacing1.com today in Montreal that "Sebastien Bourdais had better get his facts straight. He said I am responsible for 40 to 50% of all incidents in this series. I would say it's more like 75%."
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
  • Briatore fumes over 'mass damper' saga
  • Ferrari 'too strong' in Turkey - Alonso
  • Paddock news from Istanbul
  • Six drivers drugs-tested in Turkey

Briatore fumes over 'mass damper' saga
Aug.26 (GMM) Although now deemed illegal by the FIA's technical department and the Court of Appeal, the 'mass damper' saga has refused to go away in Turkey.

All around the Istanbul paddock, particularly with Renault now struggling to keep up with Ferrari, the argument about whether the governing body should have banned the system so late in the championship can be heard.

''It's a strange time to discover this technology,'' Sir Frank Williams wondered on Friday.

Ferrari's Ross Brawn put the onus on Renault, however, after McLaren - ironically Fernando Alonso's 2007 destination - informally protested the legality of the system in a letter to the FIA.

Brawn said in Turkey: ''I don't know how much Renault informed the FIA about how it works.''

Renault chiefs, although preemptively accepting the Court's decision, have kept a low profile so far this weekend, but Flavio Briatore could not hide his fury as he sat down with a small group of reporters.

''How is it possible that something that was legal is suddenly not legal?'' the Italian fumed.

''It's like deciding half way through a football match that one team has to use ten players instead of eleven.'' zzzz

Ferrari 'too strong' in Turkey - Alonso
Aug.26 (GMM) Renault's Fernando Alonso admitted to reporters in Istanbul that Ferrari is going to be difficult to chase this weekend.

''They look a little bit too strong for us,'' the Spaniard said.

Honda's last-start winner, Jenson Button, told a similar tale, effectively also counting the championship leading Renault team out of the hunt.

''The Ferraris are quick,'' the Briton said after Friday practice, ''the McLarens are quick and I'm not sure about the Renaults.''

Journalists swarming around Michael Schumacher, too, predicted a glimmer in the seven time world champion's eyes. The German is now just ten points behind Alonso with five grands prix to run.

After using just a single set of Bridgestone rubber on Friday, and a very hard compound, and setting his best lap time towards the end of the day, he said: ''The tires are working very well here.''

Paddock news from Istanbul
Alex Wurz holidayed for two weeks in Mallorca after the announcement that in 2007 he will be Nico Rosberg's teammate at the Williams-Toyota team.

The Austrian veteran probably needed the rest. It emerged in Istanbul that, following the news, he received 160 phone calls and 300 text messages.

BMW's impressive Friday rookie Sebastian Vettel became at Istanbul the youngest ever driver to appear at a F1 grand prix.

His predecessor was Mike Thackwell, who in 1980 competed in practice for the 1980 Canadian GP at the age of 19 years and 29 days.

Nico Rosberg has told a different account of Williams teammate Mark Webber's apparent 'decision' to leave the team and join Red Bull in 2007.

''I'm not sure that it really was his decision,'' the young German was quoted as saying by Formule 1 RaceReport.

Ross Brawn has responded coyly to continuing speculation that the structure of the Ferrari team could be radically altered for 2007.

With the futures of technical director Brawn, Michael Schumacher, Felipe Massa and Jean Todt glaringly unknown, the Briton told reporters in Turkey: ''After the season finishes you will see how we are going to structure Ferrari for the future.''

Six drivers drugs-tested in Turkey
Aug.26 (GMM) Six drivers - Pedro de la Rosa, Robert Doornbos, Sebastian Vettel, Christijan Albers, Felipe Massa and Nico Rosberg - were drugs-tested by the governing body at Istanbul on Friday.

But the Grand Prix Drivers' Association still met in the evening to discuss the issue of even tighter anti-doping controls. Key pilots aired opposing views.

''I don't see why we need to make an issue of it,'' said David Coulthard, a director of the drivers' body.

His 2007 Red Bull teammate, Mark Webber, argued: ''I am not trying to make a mountain out of a molehill, but why not more testing?''

De la Rosa doubted that any driver used performance-enhancing drugs, such as EPO, but said using state-of-the-art detection techniques will allow F1 to 'better demonstrate that we are clean'.

Reigning world champion Fernando Alonso, meanwhile, amusingly commented: ''In this sport the cars are drugged, not the drivers.''

Turkey: Schumacher tops practice 3 Turkey: Schumacher tops practice 3Fernando Alonso (Renault) threatened to give chase to championship rival Michael Schumacher in Istanbul by practicing second fastest on Saturday morning.  The gap to the Ferrari driver, however, was a sizeable seven tenths.

Schumacher, meanwhile, took a trip over the grass while negotiating the infamous turn-8 corner.

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. M.Schumacher Ferrari (B) 1:27.203 + 12
 2. Alonso Renault (M) 1:27.924 + 0.721 16
 3. Fisichella Renault (M) 1:27.963 + 0.760 17
 4. Kubica BMW-Sauber (M) 1:27.964 + 0.761 15
 5. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber (M) 1:28.151 + 0.948 14
 6. Button Honda (M) 1:28.190 + 0.987 17
 7. Massa Ferrari (B) 1:28.266 + 1.063 14
 8. Barrichello Honda (M) 1:28.359 + 1.156 15
 9. Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:28.368 + 1.165 11
10. Klien Red Bull-Ferrari (M) 1:28.830 + 1.627 9
11. Trulli Toyota (B) 1:28.861 + 1.658 17
12. Speed Toro Rosso-Cosworth (M) 1:28.861 + 1.658 14
13. de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:29.034 + 1.831 12
14. Webber Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:29.069 + 1.866 10
15. Rosberg Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:29.176 + 1.973 13
16. Coulthard Red Bull-Ferrari (M) 1:29.357 + 2.154 12
17. R.Schumacher Toyota (B) 1:29.374 + 2.171 18
18. Liuzzi Toro Rosso-Cosworth (M) 1:29.426 + 2.223 19
19. Albers MF1-Toyota (B) 1:29.668 + 2.465 19
20. Montagny Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:29.881 + 2.678 17
21. Monteiro MF1-Toyota (B) 1:29.915 + 2.712 17
22. Sato Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:30.151 + 2.948 21

Danica admits road courses her weakness Danica admits road courses her weaknessIn this article Danica Patrick says she has not adapted to road course racing like she had hoped [Road course racing is much harder and puts a premium on driver skill, unlike 100% throttle ovals which minimize the need for a great driver.].

The usually confident Danica Patrick is anything but this weekend.

Her first trip to Infineon Raceway last year was a disaster from the start and ended in a crash on the 19th lap. Her hope this year is just to be there at the end of Sunday's Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma.

"I'd be lying if I told you I was looking forward to it. It's hard, it's fast and it's incredibly physically challenging," she said of Infineon's 12-turn, 2.26-mile road course.

Although she has been driving for 15 of her 24 years, this weekend marks only her sixth IndyCar race on a course that combines right turns with the left-handers.

"I haven't gotten on with the road courses like I thought I would," she said.

Interview with Steve Johnson Interview with Steve JohnsonDear AutoRacing1.com, I read with great interest the interview with Steve Johnson from Montreal Friday. I could almost hear the disappointment in his voice that Champ Car won't be back in Montreal, and although it's easy to blame NASCAR and the France family, in reality I blame Tony George. He split the sport of Indy Car racing when it was at its peak and bigger than NASCAR. If he had not done that Normand Legault would have himself a huge Indy Car style race and would not even think about bringing NASCAR in. To Tony George I say this - you ruined the entire open wheel industry in the country and you must be held accountable.

Anyway, thanks AutoRacing1.com for publishing the interview. Donna DeNatalie, Brooklyn, NY

Yates won't move Leicht up Yates won't move Leicht upRobert Yates Racing's development driver, Stephen Leicht, is not expected to make the move full-time to the Nextel Cup Series next season and will instead drive a full season in the Busch Series, The Charlotte Observer reports.

Leicht, 19, has been mentioned as a possible replacement for Dale Jarrett in Yates' No. 88 Ford. Jarrett is leaving at the end of the season to drive a Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing.

The decision to keep Leicht in the Busch series is tied to sponsor CitiFinancial's desire to remain in the series another season and to give Leicht additional seat time, sources said.

Cunningham wins IndyPro pole Cunningham wins IndyPro poleWade Cunningham saved his best for last, turning his fast lap with three minutes remaining in the second session to claim the SWE Race Car Parts Pole Award for the Indy Pro Series' Carneros 1000.

Rookie Alex Lloyd will start second, with championship contenders Jonathan Klein, Jay Howard and Bobby Wilson starting third, fifth and sixth, respectively.

Pos Driver Best Time
1 Wade Cunningham (1) 1:22.9324
2 Alex Lloyd (26) 1:23.5000
3 Jonathan Klein (27) 1:24.1045
4 Nick Bussell (52) 1:24.1884
5 Jay Howard (7) 1:24.4828
6 Bobby Wilson (24) 1:24.5441
7 Mike Potekhen (76) 1:24.5494
8 Ryan Justice (38) 1:24.7499
9 Scott Mansell (41) 1:24.9227
10 Jaime Camara (11) 1:24.9976
11 Micky Gilbert (4) 1:26.2751
12 Daniel Gaunt (3) 1:26.7494
13 Racer Kashima (9) 1:34.3806
14 PJ Abbott (8) 1:40.3156

Dixon fastest in Sonoma Dixon fastest in SonomaTarget Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon led the opening day of practice for the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma.

Dixon, who currently sits fourth in the IndyCar Series championship point standings, turned a lap of 107.662 mph; 1 minute, 16.9073 seconds in his No. 9 Honda-powered Panoz on the 2.26-mile, 12-turn road course. Dixon’s fast lap allows him to determine if he will be the first car out or invert the order for Marlboro Pole Qualifying on Aug. 26.

Helio Castroneves ranked second in combined practice speeds with a lap of 107.279 mph in his No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Honda-powered Dallara.

Rounding out the top-five were Dario Franchitti (106.907), his Andretti Green Racing teammate Marco Andretti (106.890) and Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s Dan Wheldon (106.718).

IndyCar Series point leader Sam Hornish Jr. was seventh quick with a lap of 106.524 mph.

Pos Car Driver Chassis Time
1. 9 Scott Dixon Panoz 1:16.9073
2. 3 Helio Castroneves Dallara 1:17.1821
3. 27 Dario Franchitti Dallara 1:17.4507
4. 26 Marco Andretti Dallara 1:17.4628
5. 7 Bryan Herta Dallara 1:17.6846
6. 6 Sam Hornish Jr Dallara 1:17.7288
7. 10 Dan Wheldon Panoz 1:17.7626
8. 11 Tony Kanaan Dallara 1:17.7742
9. 4 Vitor Meira Dallara 1:18.6886
10. 5 Ryan Briscoe Dallara 1:18.9066
11. 15 Buddy Rice Panoz 1:19.2190
12. 2 Tomas Scheckter Dallara 1:19.5964
13. 17 Jeff Simmons Panoz 1:19.6246
14. 14 Jeff Bucknum Dallara 1:19.8731
15. 16 Danica Patrick Panoz 1:19.9005
16. 55 Kosuke Matsuura Dallara 1:20.1429
17. 8 Scott Sharp Panoz 1:20.2670
18. 20 Ed Carpenter Dallara 1:20.6218

Kurt Busch wins Cup pole in Bristol Kurt Busch wins Cup pole in Bristol
Pos. Car Driver Make Sponsor Speed Time Behind
1 2 Kurt Busch Dodge Miller Lite 124.906 15.362 Leader
2 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Cingular Wireless 124.808 15.374 -0.012
3 43 Bobby Labonte Dodge Cheerios/Hamburger Helper 124.484 15.414 -0.052
4 17 Matt Kenseth Ford DEWALT 124.404 15.424 -0.062
5 20 Tony Stewart Chevrolet The Home Depot 124.299 15.437 -0.075
6 11 Denny Hamlin* Chevrolet FedEx Freight 124.226 15.446 -0.084
7 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Reese's 124.106 15.461 -0.099
8 45 Kyle Petty Dodge Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil 124.082 15.464 -0.102
9 19 Elliott Sadler Dodge Dodge Dealers/UAW 123.922 15.484 -0.122
10 41 Reed Sorenson* Dodge Target 123.906 15.486 -0.124
11 42 Casey Mears Dodge Texaco/Havoline 123.866 15.491 -0.129
12 49 Kevin Lepage Dodge LoansDepot.com 123.770 15.503 -0.141
13 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet DuPont 123.754 15.505 -0.143
14 14 Sterling Marlin Chevrolet Ginn Clubs & Resorts 123.714 15.510 -0.148
15 6 Mark Martin Ford AAA 123.698 15.512 -0.150
16 66 Jeff Green Chevrolet CertainTeed 123.610 15.523 -0.161
17 21 Ken Schrader Ford U.S. Air Force 123.594 15.525 -0.163
18 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's 123.586 15.526 -0.164
19 5 Kyle Busch Chevrolet Kellogg's 123.491 15.538 -0.176
20 25 Brian Vickers Chevrolet GMAC 123.475 15.540 -0.178 zzzz 
21 12 Ryan Newman Dodge ALLTEL Fastap 123.467 15.541 -0.179
22 22 Dave Blaney Dodge Caterpillar 123.467 15.541 -0.179
23 10 Scott Riggs Dodge Valvoline/Stanley Tools 123.443 15.544 -0.182
24 1 Martin Truex Jr.* Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops/Tracker 123.380 15.552 -0.190
25 18 J.J. Yeley* Chevrolet Interstate Batteries 123.356 15.555 -0.193
26 178 Kenny Wallace Chevrolet Furniture Row Racing 123.277 15.565 -0.203
27 07 Clint Bowyer* Chevrolet Jack Daniel's 123.213 15.573 -0.211
28 32 Travis Kvapil Chevrolet Tide-Downy 123.134 15.583 -0.221
29 55 Michael Waltrip Dodge NAPA Auto Parts 123.000 15.600 -0.238
30 34 Carl Long Chevrolet Front Row Motorsports 122.921 15.610 -0.248
31 9 Kasey Kahne Dodge Dodge Dealers/UAW 122.827 15.622 -0.260
32 88 Dale Jarrett Ford UPS 122.717 15.636 -0.274
33 74 Derrike Cope Dodge Sundance Vacations/Royal Admin. Svcs 122.701 15.638 -0.276
34 96 Tony Raines Chevrolet DLP HDTV 122.638 15.646 -0.284
35 16 Greg Biffle Ford National Guard/Charter Communications 122.365 15.681 -0.319
36 40 David Stremme* Dodge Coors Light 122.295 15.690 -0.328
37 26 Jamie McMurray Ford Sharpie 122.201 15.702 -0.340
38 38 David Gilliland Ford M&M's 122.154 15.708 -0.346
39 99 Carl Edwards Ford Office Depot 122.092 15.716 -0.354
40 8 Dale Earnhardt Jr.+ Chevrolet Budweiser 121.728 15.763 -0.401
41 01 Joe Nemechek+ Chevrolet U.S. Army 121.428 15.802 -0.440
42 7 Robby Gordon+ Chevrolet Jim Beam 121.389 15.807 -0.445
43 4 Scott Wimmer Chevrolet Bully Hill Vineyards/Food City 122.451 15.670 -0.308
Did not Qualify
44 61 Chad Chaffin Chevrolet Kingsport Iron&Metal/Oak Gloves 122.015 15.726 -0.364
45 00 Hermie Sadler Chevrolet The SPEED Report 121.859 15.746 -0.384
46 109 Mike Wallace Dodge Miccosukee Gaming & Resorts 121.759 15.759 -0.397
47 37 Mike Skinner Dodge R&J Racing 121.289 15.820 -0.458
Montreal Musings Montreal MusingsThe Ducks have it: Today's Champ Car qualifying session was red flagged for about 15 minutes while Marshalls chased a mother duck and her babies off the race track.

Slow as snails: The CASCAR stock cars were so slow and cumbersome that the Montreal fans all left the stands out of sheer boredom. It remains to be seen how much they like the similarly NASCAR Busch Series cars next year.

Beautiful weather: The weather in Montreal Friday perfect - cool with low humidity and sunny skies. Most of the grandstands were 80 percent full. The Friday attendance certainly appeared better than last year

The Chinese Connection: Dutch-Chinese driver Ho-Pin Tung arrived in Montreal with his Engineer to explore opportunities in Champ Car next year.

South America back in the picture: Besides a few European promoters who want a Champ Car race, we hear a potential race in South America (Brazil?) has emerged.
Wilson: 2nd car pros and cons Wilson: 2nd car pros and consJustin Wilson thinks that not having a teammate this weekend in Montreal is probably better than putting someone in the car who has to learn both the team and the car.

"It has its pros and its cons.  Having a teammate obviously helps you gain information, but having somebody in there who has to learn the car without testing is also a possible distraction.  The team is trying to find the right person to put in that car.  I'm not the best person to answer who that will be.  We just got to carry on working with what we have, going the direction we are, trying to do the best for my car under the circumstances."

Turkey GP: Friday press conference Turkey GP: Friday press conference
New Champ Car testing wraps up in Sebring New Champ Car testing wraps up in SebringUPDATE SEBRING, Fla. – The week is just beginning for this year’s Champ Cars in Montreal with first-round qualifying taking place at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve on Friday, but 1,500 miles to the south, the week for next year’s brand-new American-built Champ Car has just come to a close.

The new Panoz DP01 Champ Car wrapped up its first week of on-track testing today, completing a program that covered more than 600 miles in searing conditions at Sebring International Raceway. The test team, which included engineers from Champ Car, Cosworth, Pi Research and Elan Motorsports along with Hewland and Performance Friction Brakes, oversaw a rigorous program that had the new car on-track from Monday to Friday under 90-degree temperatures each day.

The car spent the week in the capable hands of two-time Champ Car race winner Roberto Moreno, who piloted the new machine through every lap of the week despite not having been in a Champ Car since 2003.

“It was nice to be back in a Champ Car and nice to have that kind of power at your fingertips again,” Moreno grinned. “I couldn’t be happier with this car. The new aero package is really nice and I think it will be great for the guys once the teams get a hold of it. We are really sticking well in the mid-speed corners and the car is really balanced well aerodynamically and we haven’t even thrown anything at it from a standpoint of trying to gain mechanical grip. I think that the team has done a great job with this car.”

The tough Central Florida weather meant that the testing program had to be ramped up slowly as engineers took care not to overheat the car and its components. But the DP01 passed every test with flying colors and the aero tools worked as expected in cooling all of the vital systems on the new car.

“It was a tough week to test but we got a lot of work done and are very pleased with what we accomplished,” said Champ Car Technical Director Scot Elkins. “We turned lap times that were competitive for the conditions and we are pleased with the amount of setup progress we have made. We are right on target with our development of the DP01 and are looking forward to the next phase of the program.”

The DP01 will now travel to Champ Car Headquarters in Indianapolis where it will go through its first technical inspection before heading back to Sebring for a second round of testing September 5-7.

08/25/06 Champ Car has wrapped up the first week of testing of the new DP01 Champ Car in Sebring and Champ Car President told AutoRacing1.com, "It's almost gone too smooth. The car has run extremely well under extreme weather (heat). This week wasn't about outright speed, it was about seeing if anything breaks, and except for a initial leaking fuel cell, nothing did break. We are extremely satisfied."
Pagenaud gets a point back on Rahal Pagenaud gets a point back on Rahal
Williams scolds Jordan for sale advice Williams scolds Jordan for sale advice(GMM)  Sir Frank Williams has hit out at his former team owner counterpart after Eddie Jordan suggested he follow suit and sell the Grove-based team to Toyota.

''I love you, Frank, really I do,'' Jordan this month wrote in his column for F1 Racing magazine, ''but now it's time to take a long, hard look in the mirror.''

Jordan, who sold his Silverstone-based outfit to a Russian-Canadian billionaire prior to the 2005 season, suggested that Williams' new engine deal with Toyota might be the ideal opportunity to call it a day.

''I suppose talk is cheap,'' Williams told reporters in Istanbul on Friday.  ''(Jordan) hasn't made an offer himself.

''It's easier to say these things if you can't put your money there.''

Toyota's F1 president, anyway, played down the prospect that the Japanese carmaker might consider buying a slice of Williams' eponymous team.

John Howett said on Friday: ''I don't believe so.

''Toyota's position is to win with our own team and we are happy to have been selected by Williams (for engine supply).''

Williams even ruled out making wholesale or major changes in the short term to the structure of his team, as the squad languish in arguably its worst trough in a long history.

''Better to stick together,'' said the 64-year-old, ''rather than start ripping oneself apart.''

Paddock news from Istanbul: 4 Paddock news from Istanbul: 4(GMM)  Robert Doornbos accused title charger Fernando Alonso of 'playing chicken' in Istanbul as the pair got into a second successive on-track incident.

''It was a case of 'who's going to brake latest','' said Red Bull tester Doornbos after afternoon practice, recalling actually clashing wheels with the Renault star, ''but that's all there was to it.''

Alonso, a disappointing twelfth quickest and crucially about a full second consistently slower than championship rival Michael Schumacher, copped a qualifying penalty in Hungary for a similar quarrel, but insisted on Friday that Doornbos was to blame this time.

''I didn't have any problem (with anyone else) but Doornbos had three or four incidents,'' said the 25-year-old.

Sebastian Vettel enjoyed a dream debut as BMW's 'Friday' tester by going quickest in the afternoon session, but the only tangible result of his efforts was a $1000 dollar fine for exceeding the pit lane speed limit by 4kph.

A Ferrari spokesman in Turkey denied reports that the Italian team could delay their scheduled Monza announcement for 2007 drivers.

But Luca Colajanni also told 'sid' agency: ''That is the way it is today.''

Christijan Albers was fuming in Istanbul after incurring his third successive Toyota engine failure aboard the MF1 racer.

''In formula one,'' said the Dutchman, who will again drop ten places down the starting grid, ''we can't afford to have these kinds of failures.''

Montreal: Bourdais tops opening Champ Car practice Montreal: Bourdais tops opening Champ Car practice
Pos Driver # Team Lap Time
1 S. Bourdais 1 Newman/Haas Racing 1:22.448
2 A. Allmendinger 7 Forsythe Championship Racing 1:22.558
3 O. Servia 6 PKV Racing 1:23.141
4 J. Wilson 9 RuSPORT 1:23.149
5 B. Junqueira 2 Newman/Haas Racing 1:23.257
6 N. Philippe 4 CTE Racing - HVM 1:23.366
7 P. Tracy 3 Forsythe Championship Racing 1:23.426
8 W. Power 5 Team Australia 1:23.562
9 A. Ranger 27 Mi-Jack Conquest Racing 1:23.938
10 A. Tagliani 15 Team Australia 1:23.941
11 C. Zwolsman 34 Mi-Jack Conquest Racing 1:24.008
12 M. Dominguez 19 Dale Coyne Racing 1:24.178
13 J. Heylen 11 Dale Coyne Racing 1:24.311
14 N. Pastorelli 8 Rocketsports Racing 1:24.573
15 K. Legge 20 PKV Racing 1:24.978
16 A. Pizzonia 18 Rocketsports Racing 1:25.058
17 D. Clarke 14 CTE Racing - HVM 1:25.114
Montreal: Bomarito tops Atlantic first practice Montreal: Bomarito tops Atlantic first practice
Pos  Car  Driver  Time
1. 23 Jonathan Bomarito 1:34.042
2. 33 Richard Philippe 1:34.279
3. 3 James Hinchcliffe 1:34.356
4. 18 Graham Rahal 1:34.435
5. 15 Simon Pagenaud 1:34.530
6. 37 Andreas Wirth 1:34.783
7. 7 Leonardo Maia 1:34.798
8. 34 Joe D'Agostino 1:34.951
9. 4 David Martinez 1:35.061
10. 6 Raphael Matos 1:35.292
11. 21 Ronnie Bremer 1:35.363
12. 26 Justin Sofio 1:35.442
13. 2 Tim Bridgman 1:35.707
14. 30 Ryan Lewis 1:35.743
15. 1 Danilo Dirani 1:35.798
16. 10 Alex Sperafico 1:36.000
17. 12 Alan Sciuto 1:36.316
18. 35 Steve Ott 1:36.337  
19. 14 Colin Fleming 1:36.546
20. 19 Brian Thienes 1:36.726
21. 28 Robbie Pecorari 1:36.912
22. 5 Michael Patrizi 1:37.736
23. 31 Casey Neal 1:38.521
24. 8 Antoine Bessette No time
25. 22 Ricardo Vassmer No time
Piquet secures GP2 pole Piquet secures GP2 poleNelson Piquet Jr's weekend has gone from good to great after claiming pole position for tomorrow's race one in Istanbul, and in doing so has closed the gap in the championship battle with leader Lewis Hamilton to just nine points.

Piquet left the pitlane with most of the field at the start of the session, but was back in next time around as his car was seemingly not quite to his liking. A few tweaks later and he was back out, setting a time of 1: 34.741 on his first lap, a time that was one second faster than anyone else at that stage.

The time was good enough for the top spot despite the best efforts of his competitors. The only man to come close was Jose Maria Lopez, who set a time just 0.004 off pole on his final lap of the session. Giorgio Pantano was third fastest, three tenths behind. zzzz 

The ART pairing of Alex Premat and Lewis Hamilton were surprisingly off the pace during the session, finishing fourth and fifth respectively, ahead of Racing Engineering's Adam Carroll.

A number of drivers spent time off track as they pushed over the limit to improve their times, but the only man to fail to bring his car home was local driver Jason Tahinci, whose engine let go on him halfway around the track.

Nonetheless he was still luckier than DPR's Vitaly Petrov, who was left behind in the paddock as the rest of the field made their way to the pitlane while his mechanics worked on a hydraulic problem which was causing problems with his gear change. Despite eventually leaving the paddock, he was unable to set a time in the session.

With ten drivers within a second of pole, and twenty within two, the pace shown throughout the field and the wide, flowing nature of the track, should combine to create another spectacular race to follow on from the electrifying events last year here in Istanbul.

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. Piquet Jr. Piquet Sports 1:34.741 11
 2. Lopez Super Nova International 1:34.745 + 0.004 11
 3. Pantano FMS International 1:35.068 + 0.327 11
 4. Premat ART Grand Prix 1:35.151 + 0.410 11
 5. Hamilton ART Grand Prix 1:35.169 + 0.428 12
 6. Carroll Racing Engineering 1:35.579 + 0.838 12
 7. Di Grassi Durango 1:35.584 + 0.843 16
 8. Viso iSport International 1:35.672 + 0.931 13
 9. Negrao Piquet Sports 1:35.675 + 0.934 14
10. Glock iSport International 1:35.824 + 1.083 11
11. Zuber Trident Racing 1:35.899 + 1.158 13
12. Bruni Trident Racing 1:36.145 + 1.404 12
13. Piccione DPR 1:36.226 + 1.485 12
14. Perera DAMS 1:36.259 + 1.518 12
15. Valles Campos Racing 1:36.364 + 1.623 14
16. Monfardini DAMS 1:36.367 + 1.626 12
17. Yoshimoto BCN Competicion 1:36.587 + 1.846 11
18. Ammermueller Arden International Ltd 1:36.617 + 1.876 13
19. Villa Racing Engineering 1:36.733 + 1.992 14
20. Hernandez Durango 1:36.776 + 2.035 15
21. Lapierre Arden International Ltd 1:36.800 + 2.059 13
22. Porteiro Campos Racing 1:37.111 + 2.370 14
23. Filippi BCN Competicion 1:37.313 + 2.572 13
24. Tahinci FMS International 1:37.695 + 2.954 9
25. Fauzy Super Nova International 1:37.878 + 3.137 9
26. Petrov DPR No time 2

McDowell to Make ARCA RE/MAX Series McDowell to Make ARCA RE/MAX SeriesThe Eddie Sharp Racing #2 Dodge will have a different look this weekend when the team rolls into the Milwaukee Mile (WI) for the Governor’s Cup 200.  ESR announced today that Phoenix, Arizona native Michael McDowell, who currently resides in Charlotte, North Carolina will take over the reigns of the #2 ARCA machine sponsored by Z-line Designs and Southern New Hampshire University. McDowell, who comes from a diverse racing background, will be making his stock car debut this weekend, as well as his debut with the team in the first of five scheduled events to complete the 2006 season.

“This is a great opportunity that came available when the previous driver left the team,” said the 21-year-old McDowell.  “The team has been running strong all year long; the seat was available and it was an opportunity for me to get some experience in stock car racing.  There is no better place to get that experience than the ARCA RE/MAX Series.”

Tracy is fanning the flames Tracy is fanning the flamesPaul Tracy can expect to be booed in Montreal, even if he may be hard-pressed to hear it over the roar of his Champ Car engine.

The veteran Toronto driver has been scorched in the local media for a dig about French-speaking drivers keeping their helmets on in fights. And Champ Car leader Sebastien Bourdais, a Frenchman who had words with and a shove at Tracy two weeks ago in Denver, said Thursday that fans in mostly French-speaking Montreal should let him know how they feel - without resorting to extremes.

"We could probably write a book with all the problems that Paul has been involved in, whether it's with me, Alex or someone else," Bourdais said.

"First, if he wants to fight, he's probably picked the wrong sport and second, I just hope the Quebec people reserve (for) him the welcome he deserves because he's been insulting the French people and the Quebec people and I hope they won't forget that."

Tagliani, a native of Lachenaie, Que., added: "I totally agree with Sebastien." Canadian Press

Turkey GP: Vettel stuns in practice 2 Turkey GP: Vettel stuns in practice 2German new comer Sebastien Vettel stunned the F1 paddock by turning the fastest lap in practice 2 Friday for this weekend's Turkish GP.

The BMW Sauber F1 Team was back up to full strength today with Sebastian Vettel now taking on the role of test and reserve driver alongside race drivers Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica.

Vettel was surprised to be fastest on his first day.

"I am surprised at this result. It has been difficult for me as I didn't know the circuit and have had only one proper Formula 1 test. However, I felt very comfortable, I was able to deliver some information and on top of it all it was great! What happens in the fast corners is just indescribable. My second session was a lot quicker, and on top of that I learnt two Formula 1 lessons on my first day. In the first session I forgot to press the pit lane speed limiter, which is going to be expensive, and after the second session the system chose me for a drug test."

BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen was quite happy with the result.

"It was a good first practice day for our team with a flawless performance from Sebastian Vettel, who is only 19 years old and had his first Formula One drive on a GP weekend. He completed his entire program with no mistakes and laid a good basis for the set-up work for the cars. Setting the fastest lap today was not on the agenda, but it is the icing on the cake."

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. Vettel BMW-Sauber (M) 1:28.091 29
 2. Massa Ferrari (B) 1:28.164 + 0.073 18
 3. Button Honda (M) 1:28.506 + 0.415 10
 4. Davidson Honda (M) 1:28.598 + 0.507 31
 5. R.Schumacher Toyota (B) 1:28.614 + 0.523 21
 6. M.Schumacher Ferrari (B) 1:28.819 + 0.728 13
 7. Doornbos Red Bull-Ferrari (M) 1:28.848 + 0.757 15
 8. Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:29.042 + 0.951 10
 9. de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:29.112 + 1.021 10
10. Barrichello Honda (M) 1:29.214 + 1.123 16
11. Mondini MF1-Toyota (B) 1:29.719 + 1.628 27
12. Alonso Renault (M) 1:29.741 + 1.650 16
13. Jani Toro Rosso-Cosworth (M) 1:29.858 + 1.767 30
14. Speed Toro Rosso-Cosworth (M) 1:29.890 + 1.799 20
15. Trulli Toyota (B) 1:30.006 + 1.915 18
16. Montagny Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:30.491 + 2.400 25
17. Kubica BMW-Sauber (M) 1:30.502 + 2.411 9
18. Fisichella Renault (M) 1:30.504 + 2.413 16
19. Wurz Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:30.509 + 2.418 36
20. Liuzzi Toro Rosso-Cosworth (M) 1:30.551 + 2.460 17
21. Webber Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:30.775 + 2.684 13
22. Klien Red Bull-Ferrari (M) 1:30.889 + 2.798 16
23. Rosberg Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:31.015 + 2.924 17
24. Sato Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:31.091 + 3.000 11
25. Yamamoto Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:31.316 + 3.225 21
26. Monteiro MF1-Toyota (B) 1:31.519 + 3.428 15
27. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber (M) 1:31.526 + 3.435 10
28. Coulthard Red Bull-Ferrari (M) 1:31.540 + 3.449 10
29. Albers MF1-Toyota (B) 1:32.102 + 4.011 7

Audi has the first “match ball” at Mosport Audi has the first “match ball” at MosportThe fastest circuit of the year plays host to the American Le Mans Series where Audi will have the first "match ball”: Dindo Capello (Italy) and Allan McNish (Scotland) could wrap up the drivers’ title early at the wheel of their Audi R10 TDI at Mosport (Canada), round eight of the ten race championship. It would be the first time in motorsport history that drivers with a diesel sportscar have won an internationally acclaimed championship.
Going into the race at Mosport, approximately 60 miles east of the Canadian metropolis Toronto, the two Audi drivers have a 42-point lead over the Lola drivers Butch Leitzinger and James Weaver. If Capello and McNish score at least seven points more than their closest rivals they will enter the final two races at Road Atlanta (30 September) and Laguna Seca (21 October) with an unassailable lead. zzzz
Although the Audi R10 TDI remains unbeaten after four races in the American Le Mans Series, Capello and McNish face an uphill struggle. On one hand they must stave off the challenge from their team-mates Frank Biela (Germany) and Emanuele Pirro (Italy), who have won two of the last three races. Furthermore their title rivals Leitzinger and Weaver have received yet another "goodie” from the organizers: They are not only allowed to compete in a 65 kilogram lighter car but also with a 5 liter larger fuel tank.
The Audi drivers already had their hands full keeping the lightened Dyson-Lola behind at Portland and Road America. Several contacts underline just how hard fought the American Le Mans Series is. Furthermore, Mosport has been "Dyson land” in the previous two years: Leitzinger/Weaver won there twice in succession (2004 and 2005).
The Audi Sport North America squad will nevertheless do everything to end the Dyson team’s winning streak at Mosport and continue the R10 TDI prototype’s victory roll. The revolutionary sportscar has not been beaten since its debut at Sebring in March. Fast circuits like Mosport, with an average speed of over 210 kph (130 mph), suit the new Audi particularly well.
Round eight of the 2006 American Le Mans Series will start on Sunday (3 September) at 3:00 p.m. local time (9:00 p.m. in Germany) and lasts 2:45 hours. SPEED broadcasts the entire race live in the USA, Motors TV in Europe.
F1 Quiz F1 Quiz
1. During the first Turkish Grand Prix last year, Kimi Räikkönen scored one of his numerous victories of the season. In fact, in 2005, the Finn climbed the top step of the podium as often as Fernando Alonso. How many times?
a. 4 times
b. 5 times
c. 6 times
d. 7 times
e. 8 times
2. Which driver, starting 20th, gained the most places during the first Turkish Grand Prix last year to finish ninth, 28 seconds away from the last available point?
a. Jenson Button
b. Robert Doornbos
c. Narain Karthikeyan
d. Takuma Sato
e. Jacques Villeneuve

3. During the first Turkish Grand Prix, which three teams saw both their drivers score points?
a. McLaren, Red Bull, Renault
b. Red Bull, Renault, BAR
c. Renault, BAR, Sauber
d. BAR, Sauber, McLaren
e. Sauber, McLaren, Red Bull

4. Last year, Turkish driver Can Artam started the two rounds of the GP2 championship contested at the Turkish Grand Prix, driving for the ISPORT INTERNATIONAL team. Which F1 driver was then his teammate?
a. Robert Kubica
b. Neel Jani
c. Giorgio Mondini
d. Nico Rosberg
e. Scott Speed  
5. Again this year, a Turkish driver, Jason Tahincioglu, will be part of the two GP2 championship rounds held this weekend in Istanbul. He will be carrying the colors of the PO FMS INTERNATIONAL team which belongs in part to...
a. Giancarlo Fisichella
b. Red Bull team director Christian Horner
c. Former world champion Nelson Piquet
d. Famed Italian singer Eros Ramazzotti
e. Nicolas Todt, manager of Felipe Massa and son of Jean
6. It happened one August 27...
a. In 1954, the birth of Derek Warwick.
b. In 1959, the birth of Gerhard Berger.
c. In 1967, Jack Brabham won the first Grand Prix of Canada.
d. In 1976, the birth of Mark Webber.
e. In 1978, the 12th and final F1 victory of Mario Andretti at the Dutch Grand Prix.

Answers: 1) d; 2) d; 3) a; 4) e; 5) a; 6) all of the above.

Paddock news from Istanbul: 3 Paddock news from Istanbul: 3(GMM) Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren) topped a warm opening practice session in Istanbul on Friday, ahead of Michael Schumacher (Ferrari). Championship leader Fernando Alonso elected not to set a time.

Anthony Davidson suffered what appeared to be an engine failure in the T-Car, while 'Friday' counterpart Neel Jani escaped damage with a spectacular spin in the unique tripe-apex turn-8.

BMW-Sauber's new 2006 race driver, Polish rookie Robert Kubica, says he has never had time for night-clubbing.

''I have time for driving, eating and sleeping,'' the 21-year-old said in an interview with the 'Munchner Merkur' newspaper.

Former Toyota racer Cristiano da Matta is making progress after colliding with a deer in his Champ Car on August 3.

Although still not fully conscious, the diminutive Brazilian has been moved out of intensive care and is beginning to respond to verbal commands, according to the American series' doctor Chris Pinderski.

Williams' 2007 racer Alex Wurz says he hopes Michael Schumacher retires from formula one at the end of the year.

''Without Schumi my prospects for a contract in 2008 are much higher,'' the Austrian was quoted as saying by newspaper 'Kleinen Zeitung'.
Turkey GP: Raikkonen tops practice 1 Turkey GP: Raikkonen tops practice 1Defending Turkish GP winner Kimi Raikkonen top the speed charts in practice 1 of the Turkey GP in Istanbul. Meanwhile Michael Schumacher was 2nd quickest as he edges closer to points leader Fernando Alonso. Alonso turned in one slow lap to preserve his engine for the remainder of the weekend. He is on the 2nd weekend for his engine.

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:28.315 5
 2. M.Schumacher Ferrari (B) 1:28.777 + 0.462 4
 3. Button Honda (M) 1:28.785 + 0.470 5
 4. Wurz Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:28.959 + 0.644 24
 5. Davidson Honda (M) 1:29.193 + 0.878 19
 6. de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:29.376 + 1.061 5
 7. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber (M) 1:29.780 + 1.465 6
 8. Vettel BMW-Sauber (M) 1:29.964 + 1.649 25
 9. Doornbos Red Bull-Ferrari (M) 1:30.391 + 2.076 16
10. Jani Toro Rosso-Cosworth (M) 1:30.576 + 2.261 22
11. Barrichello Honda (M) 1:30.838 + 2.523 5
12. Mondini MF1-Toyota (B) 1:30.846 + 2.531 28
13. Speed Toro Rosso-Cosworth (M) 1:31.416 + 3.101 5
14. Albers MF1-Toyota (B) 1:31.475 + 3.160 10
15. Monteiro MF1-Toyota (B) 1:31.566 + 3.251 10
16. Montagny Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:31.814 + 3.499 13
17. Massa Ferrari (B) 1:31.904 + 3.589 5
18. Yamamoto Super Aguri-Honda (B) 1:32.212 + 3.897 11
19. Liuzzi Toro Rosso-Cosworth (M) 1:32.497 + 4.182 6
20. R.Schumacher Toyota (B) No time 5
21. Trulli Toyota (B) No time 2
22. Fisichella Renault (M) No time 1
23. Alonso Renault (M) No time 1
24. Sato Super Aguri-Honda (B) No time 1
25. Kubica BMW-Sauber (M) No time 1
26. Klien Red Bull-Ferrari (M) No time 1
27. Coulthard Red Bull-Ferrari (M) No time 1
28. Webber Williams-Cosworth (B)
29. Rosberg Williams-Cosworth (B)

Turkey: Piquet tops GP2 practice Turkey: Piquet tops GP2 practice
Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. Piquet Piquet Sports 1:36.753 15
 2. Pantano FMS 1:36.965 + 0.212 13
 3. Premat ART 1:37.334 + 0.581 11
 4. Glock iSport 1:37.362 + 0.609 15
 5. Piccione DPR 1:37.416 + 0.663 13
 6. Hamilton ART 1:37.533 + 0.780 12
 7. Carroll Racing Eng. 1:37.841 + 1.088 13
 8. Di Grassi Durango 1:37.927 + 1.174 15
 9. Villa Racing Eng. 1:38.026 + 1.273 14
10. Viso iSport 1:38.097 + 1.344 14
11. Monfardini DAMS 1:38.110 + 1.357 13
12. Zuber Trident 1:38.247 + 1.494 15
13. Perera DAMS 1:38.315 + 1.562 15
14. Negrao Piquet Sports 1:38.405 + 1.652 14
15. Filippi BCN Comp. 1:38.435 + 1.682 14
16. Lopez Super Nova 1:38.460 + 1.707 11
17. Bruni Trident 1:38.599 + 1.846 12
18. Ammermuller Arden 1:38.661 + 1.908 12
19. Yoshimoto BCN Comp. 1:38.896 + 2.143 13
20. Lapierre Arden 1:38.991 + 2.238 16
21. Porteiro Campos Racing 1:39.201 + 2.448 16
22. Valles Campos Racing 1:39.203 + 2.451 15
23. Hernandez Durango 1:39.225 + 2.472 15
24. Tahinci FMS 1:39.369 + 2.617 14
25. Fauzy Super Nova 1:39.621 + 2.868 14
26. Petrov DPR 1:39.995 + 3.242 16
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Paddock news from Istanbul
Paddock news from Istanbul: 2
Honda chief calls Button win 'luck'
Schu doesn't gloat over 'mass damper' ban
Kubica unsure of BMW race seat for 2007
Pedro unsure about future beyond Monza
Alonso to use 'old' engine in Turkey
TV News
USA TV reminders for Saturday USA TV reminders for Saturday
Courtesy of TVRacer.com
Formula One Qualifying Turkey
7:00am-8:30am (L) SPEED
NASCAR Live! Bristol
12:00pm-12:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Performance  
12:30pm-1:00pm SPEED
Inside Grand Prix Turkey
1:00pm-1:30pm SPEED
Speed World Challenge Road America
8/20/06 2:00pm-3:00pm -GT SPEED
Star Mazda Road America
8/19/06 3:00pm-4:00pm SPEED
IHRA Drag Racing Martin, MI
8/6/06  4:00pm-5:00pm SPEED
NASCAR RaceDay Bristol
5:00pm-7:00pm (L) SPEED
AMA Motocross Binghamton, NY
8/20/06 6:00pm-7:00pm OLN
NASCAR Nextel Cup  Bristol Sharpie 500 
7:00pm-11:00pm (L) TNT
NASCAR Victory Lane Bristol
11:00pm-12:00am SPEED

All times listed are ET. For a complete listing of TV Programs, see TVRacer.com.

Frances leverage NASCAR popularity for Grand-Am Frances leverage NASCAR popularity for Grand-AmUPDATE A reader adds, Dear AutoRacing.com, Your article initially states that ‘The team currently holds a 29-point lead over the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley’ however that is incorrect.  Bergmeister’s team, Krohn Racing, has only a very slim 3-point lead over Wayne Taylor’s  SunTrust team.  While it is true Bergmeister enjoys a 29-point advantage in the Rolex Drivers Championship the arguably more coveted, at least by teams and sponsors, Rolex Team Championship is a tight three way battle between Krohn Racing, SunTrust Racing and CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing with only 6 points separating the three teams with two races remaining. 

As evidence of how important the teams and sponsors view the Rolex (Team) Championship Krohn Racing hired road course specialist Boris Said to co-drive their car earlier in the season and both CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing and SunTrust Racing have added ‘Top-Guns’, Scott Dixon and Ryan Hunter-Reay respectively, to their driver line-up anticipating the fight for the Championship will come down to the final race of the season, a 9-Hour endurance race, at the super technical 23 turn road course at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah. 

The GrandAm Rolex Series continues to grow by attracting top drivers eager to compete against other top drivers, which makes for better racing and a better show.  It is not just NASCAR drivers that are coming to compete in GrandAm, as your article implies, but accomplished drivers who have F1, Champ Car, IRL, or Lemans, experience and the field is full of talented drivers from the junior open wheel series like F3000 and Formula Atlantic that for whatever reason didn’t make it to the top levels but are now being embraced by GrandAm, putting on a hell of a show week in and week out, and building a career for themselves.

I sincerely wish there was only one ‘Sportscar’ Series with several classes so we could see the ALMS and GrandAm drivers and teams go head to head but I have also had that same preference of one series for American open wheel racing so we could see the best drivers and teams in the IRL and Champ Car battle it out.  As for GrandAm there is no doubt that the France family primed the pump which is the GrandAm Series however there is also no doubt the pump is now flowing strongly with good racing, top teams, top professional drivers, a growing fan base, and a growing T.V. audience which is attracting ever more sponsors, teams, and drivers something the IRL and Champ Car continue, to the dismay of many, fail to do. Scott Belkins  Salt Lake City, Utah

08/24/06 NASCAR team owner Robert Yates may be looking to regroup in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, but Yates’ engine operation is on the verge of capturing a title in another one of North America’s premier racing series.

Jörg Bergmeister is leading the 2006 Daytona Prototype point standings and he is looking to clinch the championship in Saturday's Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series race at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. Bergmeister’s No. 76 Krohn Racing Ford Riley is powered by a Ford 5.0 liter V8 from Robert Yates Racing Engines. zzzz

After the season-opening Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, Krohn Racing made the switch to Yates horsepower and the team has never looked back as it has set its sights on capturing the prestigious series championship.

The team currently holds a 29-point lead over the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley of Max Angelelli with two races remaining. The maximum amount of points a team can earn in a race is 35.

The NASCAR connections for the Krohn Racing team go beyond the important relationship with Yates, however.

The team has won three of the last five races, a streak that was started with help from NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver and road race ace Boris Said, who played a key role by getting behind the wheel as a co-driver in the victory at Watkins Glen in early June.

Said, who has 19 career top-10 finishes in NASCAR’s three national series, nearly shocked the racing world in July when his No. 60 SOBE/No Fear Ford was leading the Pepsi 400 at famed Daytona International Speedway with less than 10 laps to go. A late-race caution doomed his Cinderella story, but he finished fourth for the best NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series finish of his career on an oval. Not so coincidentally, the horsepower for that race was provided by Roush-Yates engines.

New NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series team owner Bill Riley, owner of Riley Technologies, is the constructor of the top three cars in the series point standings. Although he built the cars of the first and third place teams, Riley actually manages the second place No. 10 SunTrust team. 

At Indianapolis Motor Speedway earlier this month, Riley and Eddie D’Hondt announced the formation of Riley-D’Hondt Motorsports, which will field a Toyota Camry in selected NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series events in 2007 and hopes to move to a full-time campaign in 2008 or 2009.

Angelelli and his second-place No. 10 SunTrust team, who still hope to derail Bergmeister’s victory celebration, also have NASCAR ties. Four-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon will team up with Angelelli and team owner Wayne Taylor in the 2007 Rolex 24.

Taylor’s team won the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway in 2005 and also took home the series title, so they are clearly looking to make sure the 2006 championship comes down to the final race at Miller Motorsport Park in Toelle, Utah on Sept. 2.

The No. 01 CompUSA/Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley team, in third place in the point standings and a mere three points in arrears to Angelelli, also has clear connections to NASCAR.

Scott Pruett, who has three career top-five finishes in 39 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series starts, drives for team owner Chip Ganassi. Pruett has competed in two NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races this year in Ganassi’s No. 40 Coors Light/Lone Star Steakhouse Dodge, finishing sixth at Watkins Glen International.

Pruett’s team has a series-best four wins this season, including two victories when the Grand American Daytona Prototype Series was paired with a NASCAR event (Mexico City and Watkins Glen).

Casey Mears, who drives for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, was a winner in the 2006 Rolex 24, teaming up with open wheel standouts Dan Wheldon and Scott Dixon to lead the No. 02 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley to victory lane. Mears was the first full-time NASCAR driver to be part of a group to hoist the prestigious winner’s trophy.

So, no matter who ends up capturing the series championship in the 2006 Rolex Series, there will certainly be some smiling faces in the NASCAR garage.

Q and A with Kimi Raikkonen Q and A with Kimi RaikkonenMcLaren driver Kimi Raikkonen took part in this afternoon’s official press conference held by the FIA ahead of this weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix and the young Finn was questioned on several issues:

Kimi, obviously you have great memories of this circuit from last year, the pole position to victory, your thoughts about the track?
Yeah, I like the circuit a lot, of course it’s a different story this year because the car is not at its best, but it is getting better but it will be hard to achieve those results. The last race was pretty good in qualifying but it went a bit wrong in the race, so we’ll see what we can do.

What are your aims for the rest of the season?
We’ll try to do our best and win races but you never know what is going to happen, so you just keep pushing and do your best.

What about the challenge of this circuit?
It’s not the easiest one, it’s quite tricky at Turn Eight. There are a lot of bumps and it’s not very easy. I think it’s the most difficult corner on this circuit, there is some corners that you cannot see the apex when you go in. But it’s a nice circuit.

What did you do during the holidays?
I have been in Finland the whole time and seeing my friends and family and just doing normal stuff. zzzz

Between Michael and Fernando, who do you think will be World Champion and why?
Yeah. I don’t know. We just have to wait and see but I think it will be close, so there’s not a lot of difference. It’s whatever happens with the tires and cars.

How much did you blame yourself in that accident with Liuzzi and did you lose a victory because of it?
I think it was a racing incident and who knows? Maybe I lost it, maybe I didn’t, but it doesn’t make any difference any more so… Those things happen sometimes.

Can I have your comments on the FIA decision from yesterday concerning the mass dampers? How you will suffer, how much it doesn’t bother you?
We’re not using it so it doesn’t hurt us at all, but I guess to people who were using it it’s not so good for them.

I’m sure you’re aware that, as a result of the seventeen laps you led in Hungary, McLaren Mercedes, for the first time this year, have now led more racing laps than the Mercedes safety car driven by Bernd Maylander. I just wonder how you see that battle developing in the remaining races and how strong McLaren will be versus the safety car?
Hopefully we can beat them. At least it’s the same company so it doesn’t really matter but we will see what happens.

MB2 hires Slugger Labbe MB2 hires Slugger LabbeMB2 Motorsports announced that crew chief Richard "Slugger" Labbe has joined the NASCAR racing organization and will play a key role in the company's expansion for 2007. Labbe's specific position with MB2 will be announced at a later date. His immediate role is to work with the organization's Nextel Cup teams -- the #01 Chevy driven by Joe Nemechek and the #14 Chevy driven by Sterling Marlin. Labbe, who previously worked as a crew chief for Robert Yates Racing, Evernham Motorsports and DEI, will join the MB2 teams at this weekend's Nextel Cup race in Bristol.

"The hiring of Slugger is the first phase of our expansion program for 2007," said MB2's CEO and general manager Jay Frye. "Slugger is a talented crew chief and when the opportunity became available to hire him we jumped on it. We recently shored up our organization when Bobby Ginn purchased majority interest in MB2, Bobby is committed to growing our program and making our teams better."

Labbe, a 38-year-old native of Saco, Maine, said, "I am excited to join MB2 Motorsports. The company has a good vision on what's going to happen in the coming years. I hope my knowledge in the Nextel Cup field will help the organization. This is a great opportunity and I am looking forward to getting started." One of Labbe's biggest wins as a crew chief was the 2003 Daytona 500 with driver Michael Waltrip. MB2 Motorsports PR

Angelelli Leads First Practice Angelelli Leads First PracticeSONOMA, Calif. – Under perfect weather conditions for the first-ever Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve practice session at Infineon Raceway, defending Daytona Prototype champion Max Angelelli posted the quickest lap in preparation for Saturday’s Sonoma 250 (SPEED, August 27, 3:00 p.m. ET).

In the closing seconds of the two-hour practice session, Angelelli posted a best lap at 1:30.100 (100.688 mph) in the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley to top the time charts. The lap was slightly quicker than the best lap turned by Angelelli’s co-driver, Jan Magnussen, who led the session until Angelelli’s last-minute flyer. Angelelli—who has finished inside the top-four positions in his last eight Rolex Series feature races—is hoping to keep his Daytona Prototype championship hopes alive in the Sonoma 250, the penultimate round of the 2006 Rolex Series schedule.

"The car obviously is very good,” Angelelli said.  “Jan and I, we are the fastest, so it's pretty good for both of us.  I hope this weekend is not going to be like the other weekends where we are always the fastest on the pre-practice and we end up second after the race.  We need to win this race and we need to be the fastest after the race as well." zzzz

Also turning in a quick lap late in the session was Canadian standout Michael Valiante in the No. 5 Make A Wish/Z-Line Designs/Finlay Motorsports Ford Crawford. Valiante’s best lap of 1:30.163 (100.618 mph) was good for second-quickest on the day. He and co-driver/team owner Rob Finlay head into the Sonoma 250 looking for their first career Rolex Series victory.

"The Make-A-Wish/Z-Line Designs car rolled off the truck and was decent right away,” Valiante said.  “We put Rob in the car at the start of the session to get him some seat time and he did a great job.  If it weren't for traffic at the end of the session we would have been P1 for sure.  Although I lived here for two years, this is only my second time driving the track on a race weekend.    It's great to be back in Sonoma. Infineon is a great facility and the scenery is incredible.  I think this will be a good weekend for the Finlay Motorsports team."

Californian Alex Gurney was third with a lap at 1:30.206 (100.570 mph) in the No. 99 GAINSCO/Blackhawk Racing Pontiac Riley. Gurney started from the pole position in the Crown Royal 200 at The Glen two weeks ago and led throughout his stint behind the wheel, but he and co-driver Jon Fogarty—who hails from nearby Portola Valley, Calif.—are still searching for their first win in Rolex Series competition.

Track News
New Motor Sport Park to be named after Phil Hill New Motor Sport Park to be named after Phil HillVictory Lane LLC, the creator of the ultimate lifestyle development for motor sports enthusiasts, announces that it has engaged American racing legend Phil Hill to be a member of the development board of advisors and to be its motor sports icon. Hill gained his fame as a three-time winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, three-time winner of the Sebring 12 Hours race and as the 1961 Formula One Drivers World Champion for Ferrari. The Victory Lane motor sports and aviation center will be named "The Phil Hill Motor Sports Complex".

The complex, contained within the 3,000-acre development, features a 4.5-mile road course designed by world-renowned track designer Bob Barnard that is free of guardrails and barriers. The track itself is nestled within a 500-acre meadow. With 16 track configurations and an average speed of 125 mph the road course will challenge any level of driver, and is created to be the safest race track in the world.

The 5,400 foot front straightaway doubles as an FAA-approved runway for owners to fly directly into the complex. The compound is protected with state of the art security and surveillance and is complemented with numerous additional world-class amenities. “Victory Lane has created what I believe to be the ultimate lifestyle development for motor sports enthusiasts and their families”, said Phil Hill. “Whether you drive the latest super car or vintage Ferrari, you are going to love this private road course. I consider it to be a great honor to be on the Victory Lane team.”

The development is a private 3,000-acre complex located in Georgia’s picturesque countryside with lots for 11 pre-selected owners. The development focuses on elite outdoor family recreation within the private, safe, and secure compound, and comes with a price tag of $7,000,000 to $9,000,000 per lot.

“We’re proud to have a competitor of Phil’s accomplishments be part of our advisory board,” said Patrick Costello, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Victory Lane. “Naming the complex after Phil seems natural when you look at his life-long love of automobiles and his racing career.” For additional information on the Victory Lane development and the Phil Hill Motor Sports Complex visit www.unlimitedspeed.net.

Lincoln Tech to sponsor Meira Lincoln Tech to sponsor MeiraPanther Racing announced a primary sponsorship agreement with Lincoln Tech for the remainder of the 2006 season.

The Lincoln Tech automotive training school was the primary sponsor on Vitor Meira's No. 4 Honda-powered Dallara at Kentucky Speedway on Aug. 13, and following a successful weekend, the partnership was renewed for the final two events of the year.

"We knew if Lincoln Tech and Panther Racing worked together for one weekend we could both see the positive benefits of this partnership," Panther co-owner John Barnes said. "What's exciting for us is Lincoln Tech activated with our marketing partner, ignition, during the weekend and experienced the marketing power of a sponsorship with Panther. We had a great time together in Kentucky and I anticipate two more great race weekends in Infineon and Chicago." IRL

Mayfield and Blaney for BDR in '07 Mayfield and Blaney for BDR in '07Bill Davis Racing (BDR) announced today that Jeremy Mayfield will join the organization to drive the No. 36 Toyota Camry the team will field in 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series competition.  Additionally, Dave Blaney, current driver of the No. 22 Bill Davis Racing entry, will remain in the Caterpillar car for the ‘07 season.

“We’re happy to have Dave back in the Caterpillar car next year, and we’re just as excited that Jeremy has decided to join our team,” said Team Owner Bill Davis.  “Both of these men are very talented and capable drivers who are veterans of the sport and yet still hungry to win. Both Jeremy and Dave are extremely knowledgeable and will play an important part in taking our race team to the next level.” zzzz

360 OTC™ joins Bill Davis Racing to serve as the primary sponsor of the No. 36 Toyota machine beginning with the ’07 Daytona 500. Headquartered in Athens, Ga., Rockford-Montgomery Labs, Inc. is the developer of 360 OTC, a brand of FDA-approved Over-the-Counter (OTC) pain relief medicines.  Included in the 360 OTC family are 360 OTC Relief, which relieves symptoms of headache, fatigue, heartburn, upset stomach and generalized aches and pains associated with a hangover, and 360 OTC Lite Relief, a caffeine-free version of 360 OTC.  Other products include 360 OTC Ignite, a fast-acting alertness aid that safely helps restore mental alertness during times of drowsiness and fatigue, and 360 OTC Hangover Relief, which relieves generalized aches and pains associated with a hangover.

“We have done an incredible amount of research to find the perfect combination of ownership, team chemistry, driver performance and manufacturers support,” said Michelle Shearer, CEO of Rockford-Montgomery Labs. “There is no question that we have found the best business partner in NASCAR to entrust the value of our brand. “  Having Bill and Gail Davis, Tommy Baldwin, Jeremy Mayfield and Toyota behind our brand on the track every week is a direct reflection of our commitment to NASCAR fans, our retailers and our shareholders.  We need to get the 360 OTC No. 36 Toyota Camry in victory lane, and we are very fortunate to have this winning combination at BDR to accomplish that goal.”

“We feel like we’ve put together a winning combination,” Davis said.  “Rockford-Montgomery Labs, Inc. is a solid company which has learned in the short time they have been involved in the sport just how big a marketing tool NASCAR can be.  They were interested in finding a spokesperson that can get their No. 36 Toyota to victory lane as well as appeal to the people in their market. Everyone agrees that Jeremy is that guy. He’s a proven winner and is obviously a talented and consistent driver, as well as a smart businessman.  He brings with him Chase experience and a great deal of excitement, and we feel fortunate to welcome both he and 360 OTC to our family.”

Mayfield most recently competed for Evernham Motorsports.  The 37-year-old driver, who hails from Owensboro, Ky., has made 402 starts at NASCAR’s highest level and was a contender in the Chase for the Championship during both the 2004 and 2005 seasons. 

“I’m very, very excited about the opportunity to be a part of Bill Davis Racing,” Mayfield said.  “I’ve always thought a lot of and had a lot of respect for Bill and Gail, and I’m thrilled to be a part of their organization.  Obviously, I’m looking forward to working with Toyota, Todd Holbert [General Manager of Triad Racing Development, Inc.], Tommy Baldwin and everyone involved with the Toyota program, and I’m
looking forward to being a part of Toyota’s entrance into NEXTEL Cup racing as well as working with them for a long time to come. Rockford-Montgomery Labs and 360 OTC has also given me a great opportunity, and I’m happy to have the chance to represent their company, their people and their products.

“From what I’ve seen at Bill Davis Racing, they have the resources in place and the desire to do whatever it takes to be competitive, and those are the kinds of people and the type of place that I want to be involved with.”

Mayfield made his first Cup Series start in 1993 before teaming with Cale Yarborough the following season.  He remained with that team through most of the 1996 season, before uniting with car owner Michael Kranefuss, who eventually joined forces with Roger Penske in 1997.  Mayfield spent the next four seasons with the Penske organization.  He scored his first career victory at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway in 1998, and went on to finish seventh in the championship standings that year.  Mayfield earned two more victories in 2000.  He joined Evernham Motorsports beginning with the 2002 season, where he continued to prove his talent by winning races in 2004 and 2005.  Mayfield has five NEXTEL Cup victories under his belt, has started from the pole position nine times and has posted 96 top-10 finishes throughout his career.

Blaney, a Hartford, Ohio, native, has been behind the wheel of the Caterpillar car the entire 2006 season.  His first partnership with Bill and Gail Davis came back in 1998, when Blaney drove part-time in the NASCAR Busch Series.  He joined the Cup Series in 2000 and remained with Bill Davis Racing through 2001.  After departing to race for Jasper Motorsports in 2003, he returned to BDR to drive part-time in the Cup Series in 2004.  In 2005, Blaney was invited drive for Richard Childress Racing, where he posted two top-10 finishes.  In all, Blaney has made 222 starts in NASCAR’s premiere series and has captured one pole position and 19 top-10 finishes during his tenure.

“It’s certainly nice to know with half the season left where I’ll be next year, and I’m glad it will be back with Bill Davis Racing,” Blaney stated.  “This is the place I have always considered home, and though we’ve struggled a bit more than anyone thought we would this year, we all think the future is bright for BDR.  I’m excited about the opportunity to be a part of Toyota’s entrance into the Cup Series, and I’m looking forward to working with Jeremy next year.  I think next season has the possibility to be the best one Bill Davis Racing has ever seen.” BDR

Meira to join Fernandez Racing for finale Meira to join Fernandez Racing for finaleSONOMA, Calif.-- IndyCar Series talent Vitor Meira will join the Lowe's Fernandez Racing duo of Adrian Fernandez and Mario Haberfeld for the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series' Discount Tire Sunchaser at Miller Motorsports Park on September 2. The nine-hour endurance race will be held on the 4.5-mile, 24-turn road course at the state-of-the-art facility located near Salt Lake City, Utah, and will close the books on the 2006 Rolex Series racing season.

"We are very excited to have a driver of Vitor's caliber join us for the season finale," said Fernandez. "I've been impressed with his accomplishments in the IndyCar Series, and know he will be an asset in helping us to put the #12 Lowe's Pontiac Riley back in Victory Lane. Vitor and Mario have a history together, and I am looking forward to working with him. He's a genuinely nice guy who will really fit in with the team." zzzz

Meira, 29, from Brasilia, Brazil, is in his fifth season of IndyCar Series competition. He currently sits fifth in the championship standings driving the #4 Lincoln Tech entry for Panther Racing, and is one of six drivers still in contention in the series' title chase. Meira owns several wins in sports car competition including the Six Hours of Fortaleza and Three Hours of Fortaleza in his homeland, and is a two-time class winner in the Brazilian 1000 Miles sports car race.

"I remember watching Adrian race when I was still racing in Brazil, and it is a pleasure and a surprise to team up with him because I never thought I could," said Meira. "I have known Mario for a long time and we were neighbors in England, so I am looking forward to the race. From what I've heard, these cars are a lot of fun to drive and the racing is really competitive. My goal is to do the work that the team deserves, and obviously that means trying to win. I know that I have a lot to learn about the car, and I'm looking forward to working with Adrian and Mario to learn what to do and what not to do. My primary goal is to be consistent and not make any mistakes and the rest will take care of itself."

Lowe's Fernandez Racing has visited the Winner's Circle twice in its maiden season of Rolex Series competition with a victory at Mid-Ohio and qualifying race win at Phoenix. In the past six events, Fernandez and Haberfeld have notched three top-five finishes, and will be looking to add to that tally this weekend as the Rolex Series heads to Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif.

"For sure it will be a lot of fun having Vitor join us, but he also brings a lot of talent to the team," added Haberfeld. "Vitor will definitely add to the strong program we have in place heading into this endurance race, and it would be great to end the season with a win." Fernandezracing.net

Turkey GP: Thursday Press Conference Turkey GP: Thursday Press Conference
Da Matta continues to show improvement Da Matta continues to show improvementChamp Car World Series driver Cristiano da Matta (#10 RuSPORT Ford-Cosworth / Lola / Bridgestone) continues to make significant progress as he recovers from a serious head injury at Theda Clark Medical Center in Neenah, Wisc.  Over the past few days, da Matta has become more responsive to verbal commands and audible stimuli, and has continued to move his arms and legs regularly.  Da Matta was injured after colliding with a deer that ran onto the track near Turn Six at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisc., on August 3.  His family has remained by his side throughout his recovery process.

Champ Car Medical Director Dr. Chris Pinderski spoke with the Theda Clark medical staff today.  The following statement is an update from Pinderski on da Matta’s medical status.

“Cristiano has now been transferred from the intermediate care unit to a regular hospital room at Theda Clark Medical Center.  He is becoming increasingly responsive to verbal commands from family and hospital staff.  He continues to make daily progress in his recovery, and we look forward to that trend continuing in the coming days.”

Further updates on da Matta’s condition will be issued by RuSPORT as they become available.

Since da Matta’s accident on August 3, RuSPORT and Champ Car have received many messages of support for da Matta.  In response, RuSPORT also announced that, in lieu of sending flowers and gifts, anyone wishing to express their support for da Matta during his recovery is asked to please make a donation in his name to Hole in the Wall Camps, an official charity of the Champ Car World Series.  Donation information can be found by visiting http://www.holeinthewallcamps.org, or by calling 203-562-1203.

Get well cards for da Matta can be sent to:

Cristiano da Matta, patient
Theda Clark Medical Center
130 2nd St.
Neenah, WI  54956

Labrosse still upbeat on Champ Car Labrosse still upbeat on Champ CarAlan Labrosse sat next to an attendant's booth in the parking lot across from the Bell Centre engaged in a lengthy telephone call on a borrowed cell phone.

Several feet away, passers-by gathered for a close-up look at several cars belonging to teams taking part in the Champ Car Grand Prix of Montreal at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve this weekend.

Quebecer Andrew Ranger's car was there, as was Ranger. So was the car belonging to Paul Tracy, but the beleaguered Toronto driver was nowhere in sight, which prompted someone to suggest Tracy was "still in hiding" in the wake of the fallout from remarks he made about French-speaking drivers keeping their helmets on in confrontations after a blowup with Sebastien Bourdais, the Champ Car points leader from France, in a race in Denver almost two weeks ago.

Labrosse, promoter of the 15th stop in the Bridgestone Champ Car World Series, looked like a man under the gun, but expressed confidence the race was going to be a success despite the dark cloud hanging over its future in Montreal.

"Champ Car knows I want the race back," said Labrosse, referring to speculation his event might be sacrificed in an attempt by Normand Legault and his GP F1 Inc. to bring a NASCAR Busch Series race here next year. Zzzz

"There's no question that Champ Car wants to be here," Labrosse continued. "They like the city. They like the market. And they love the track."

Labrosse said the race was vital as one of three Canadian races on the Champ Car schedule, with Edmonton and Toronto being the others. More at Montreal Gazette
NASCAR spec engine wave of future NASCAR spec engine wave of futureIn the NASCAR Grand National Division, a new low-cost motor is turning heads after turning some competitive laps on the race track.

A new spec engine has been introduced as a cost-saving option for teams in the NASCAR Grand National Division, AutoZone West Series and Busch East Series. The engine is designed to provide performance and durability at nearly half the cost of the division’s current, custom-built engines.

Andy Santerre Motorsports, a new Busch East Series team owned by four-time champion Andy Santerre and based in Concord, N.C., was the first team to use this new engine in a race, on Aug. 19 at Waterford (Conn.) Speedbowl. The spec engine had been through pre-season test sessions and dynamometer testing at the NASCAR Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C., but this marked the first time it would be pushed to its limit under real racing conditions.

In its debut, team members and NASCAR officials reported that the engine was right in line with the rest of the field – a key result that has validated months of research and development.

With the new engine freshly installed just a few days before the race, Santerre’s driver, Sean Caisse, won his fourth Busch Pole of the season and set a new track record in the process. Caisse finished sixth in the race and remains in contention for the series championship.

“It was absolutely flawless,” said Santerre. “The engine ran really well. It was a little different to drive than the other motor. You couldn’t attack the corners like you can with the other engine, but you can get back on the throttle earlier. The driver had to change his driving style a little bit, to get the same speed. I think we had a good shot at winning. It was definitely competitive.” zzzz

NASCAR’s Director of Regional Touring, Richard Buck, is a long-time racing veteran who won five Indianapolis 500 titles as a crew chief. Buck was on-hand at Waterford and says Caisse’s competitive performance was a good indication that they’d hit the right formula with the new spec engine.

“We hit our target,” said Buck. “Our goal was to get the same horsepower as a championship-caliber ‘built’ motor, in a much more economical package that is affordable for anybody in the Grand National Division.”

Buck stressed that the new spec engine was never intended to provide greater performance, but more importantly, to provide equal performance at a reduced cost.

“The team with the spec engine won the pole [at Waterford], which was the norm for that team this year. They didn’t blow everybody out of the water. They never outran anybody down the straightaway. It was very obvious that it was equal to the top-running teams. We hit our target. We didn’t overshoot it with too much horsepower, and we didn’t undershoot it. It was right there where all the top ‘built’ motors were and yet, we hit the economic number there as well. Anybody can buy that economical motor and have the same horsepower as a championship-caliber team.”

Meanwhile, on the West Coast, a few AutoZone West Series teams are also planning to add the cost-saving technology to their arsenal. Bill McAnally Racing, a three-time AutoZone West Series championship team located in Antelope, Calif., recently tested their first spec engine at a track where horsepower is certainly a factor: the two-mile California Speedway in Fontana, Calif.

“We’re really happy with what we saw,” said team owner Bill McAnally. “As a team owner, I wanted to make sure there wasn’t a huge [competitive] advantage to having one of the spec engines. I didn’t see an advantage; I see it being very, very close [to the regular engine]. I think they did a great job making this motor comparable to our existing engine. I’m glad because I’d hate to see it come in and be a big advantage, and put all of our other motors out to lunch. They did an outstanding job.”

McAnally, whose stable of drivers includes 2005 NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series national champion and current Richard Childress Racing development driver Peyton Sellers, plans to debut the spec engine in a short track race later in the season.

The spec engine was designed by renowned engine builder Carl Wegner, of Markesan, Wis., and tested extensively during the pre-season. NASCAR Grand National Division teams can purchase the engines – either in a completed ready-to-race package or in an unassembled kit – from North Carolina-based Provident Auto Supply. The spec engine package is optional, not mandatory, for NASCAR Grand National Division teams.


What is it? NASCAR has introduced a spec engine as an option for teams in the NASCAR Grand National Division, which includes the AutoZone West Series and Busch East Series. The engine includes a precisely-specified set of parts and components, designed for performance and durability while reducing costs. The spec engine package costs approximately half the price of most custom-built engines.

Why has NASCAR introduced a spec engine? The spec engine is one part of NASCAR’s overall effort to reduce the cost of racing in the Grand National Division. Teams also have the option of installing a one-piece, molded composite body on their cars, which costs significantly less than a custom-mounted steel body and needs fewer repairs.

Where do the engines come from? The initial engine package was designed by Carl Wegner. Teams can now order complete engines or unassembled engine kits from Provident Auto Supply, a performance parts distributor owned by former NASCAR Vice President Gary Nelson. Unlike a “crate” engine, which comes sealed from the factory, teams may purchase a spec engine kit and assemble it on their own or with their current engine builder.

[Editor's Note: We expect that NASCAR will eventually mandate a spec engine for its premier division, Nextel Cup. That combined with the new Car of Tomorrow body and you then have a totally spec series.]

2007 Nextel Cup Schedule 2007 Nextel Cup ScheduleThe 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series schedule was announced today, a 36-race slate starting with the 49th annual Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 18 at Daytona International Speedway. On Sunday, Nov. 18, Homestead-Miami Speedway will again host the season finale.

Other key dates:

  • On Sunday, July 1, New Hampshire International Speedway will host the first event in the “Race to the Chase,” the 10-race prelude to the “Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.”
  • On Sunday, July 29, the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard will be held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
  • On the evening of Saturday, Sept. 8, Richmond International Raceway will be the final event in the “Race to the Chase.”
  • The week after Richmond, on Sunday, Sept. 16, New Hampshire again will have the kick-off event in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, which covers the season’s last 10 races and determines the series champion.
  • In addition to the 36-race regular schedule, the series’ two traditional “non-points” events are again slated, both for Saturday nights. The 29th annual Budweiser Shootout at Daytona will be held on Feb. 10, while the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge is set for May 19 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C.

There are no changes from the 2006 schedule, in terms of sites. There are, however, several adjustments to the schedule’s order.

In July, the schedule will go from New Hampshire (July 1), to Daytona (July 7) and then Chicagoland Speedway (July 15). Previously, the order was Daytona-Chicago-New Hampshire.

Also, Indianapolis’ event will close out July (July 29), followed the next week (Aug. 5) by Pocono Raceway. Previously, Pocono preceded Indianapolis. Those two races will follow the season’s final open week..

Feb. 10: Budweiser Shootout Daytona International Speedway*
Feb. 18: Daytona International Speedway
Feb. 25: California Speedway
March 11: Las Vegas Motor Speedway
March 18: Atlanta Motor Speedway
March 25: Bristol Motor Speedway
April 1: Martinsville Speedway
April 15: Texas Motor Speedway
April 21: Phoenix International Raceway
April 29: Talladega Superspeedway
May 5: Richmond International Raceway
May 12: Darlington Raceway
May 19: Nextel All-Star Challenge - Lowe's Motor Speedway*
May 27: Lowe's Motor Speedway
June 3: Dover International Speedway
June 10: Pocono Raceway
June 17: Michigan International Speedway
June 24: Infineon Raceway
July 1: New Hampshire International Speedway
July 7: Daytona International Speedway
July 15: Chicagoland Speedway
July 29: Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Aug. 5: Pocono Raceway
Aug. 12: Watkins Glen International
Aug. 19: Michigan International Speedway
Aug. 25: Bristol Motor Speedway
Sept. 2: California Speedway
Sept. 8: Richmond International Raceway
Sept. 16: New Hampshire International Speedway
Sept. 23: Dover International Speedway
Sept. 30: Kansas Speedway
Oct. 7: Talladega Superspeedway
Oct. 13: Lowe's Motor Speedway
Oct. 21: Martinsville Speedway
Oct. 28: Atlanta Motor Speedway
Nov. 4: Texas Motor Speedway
Nov. 11: Phoenix International Raceway
Nov. 18: Homestead-Miami Speedway

Coulthard says Klien started F1 too soon Coulthard says Klien started F1 too soon"I think it's great for the team to have two experienced drivers and obviously I feel for Christian because he has been unfortunate this year," said David Coulthard. "I think he has good speed and he's still very young. People have to remember than when you start at 19 or 20 and you're put in that spotlight with that pressure, you are still a young man, probably still living at home with your parents. 

"We all can remember the transition we go through when we start to stand on our own two feet. My opinion is that he's been rushed through too quickly and therefore he hasn't had the chance to show his talent.

"Therefore his period with Red Bull Racing has come to an end too quickly and that makes it difficult for him to find a drive elsewhere in Formula One and that is Formula One's loss because he drives well and his feedback is good."

2007 Cleveland GP date announced 2007 Cleveland GP date announcedThe Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by U.S. Bank celebrated its 25th anniversary on June 23 - 25, and what a celebration it was!  During a gloriously sunny weekend jammed packed with big-name concerts, a festival of family activities, and A.J. Allmendinger taking the checkered flag in a thrilling Champ Car race, more than 118,000 fans streamed through the gates at Burke Lakefront Airport to signal a return to glory for the traditional Northeast Ohio event. Mi-Jack Promotions, the new promoter for the Grand Prix, announced today that the tradition will continue next summer when the Grand Prix returns to the shores of Lake Erie on June 22 - 24, 2007. 

Mi-Jack Promotions and CEO Michael T. Lanigan became the new promoters for the Grand Prix in February of this year, and immediately provided much-needed financial security and a fresh approach to the much-loved but oft-troubled event. By introducing a number of fan improvements and a renewed focus on creating a family festival atmosphere, the new promoters enjoyed great success in their first year of ownership.

"We were very pleased with the results of this year's Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by U.S. Bank," said Lanigan. "Our focus this year was, and will remain, the great fans of Northeast Ohio, and we believe that we accomplished our goal of providing them with a tremendous weekend experience that the entire family could enjoy. We still have a ways to go in order to bring this event to the level of prominence that we know it can have, but we are delighted with the smiles on the faces of the fans and all of the 'thank yous' that we have received from this year's event."  zzzz

In addition to attendance, which increased more than 30% from 2005, the Grand Prix enjoyed growth in many other areas, including sponsorship revenue, hospitality, and vendor sales. The Grand Prix also conducted a post-event fan survey of ticket buyers, and the response was overwhelmingly positive.  Fans were especially impressed with some of the new fan amenities such as new jumbo television screens and free paddock access, as well as the reconfigured pit lanes, which afforded fans a tremendous view of the pit action. Input from many fans also indicated that the Grand Prix was successful in attracting new fans to the event through family attractions, interactive activities, and concerts featuring Paul Rodgers and Sammy Kershaw.

Despite the improvements realized at this year's Grand Prix, race officials are not resting on their laurels. The Grand Prix is looking for ways to upgrade the fan experience even more, and officials are responding to input from the fan survey. At the 2007 Grand Prix, fans should expect new innovations and improvements in areas such as fan mobility, hospitality offerings, entertainment options, and fan seating. 

Grand Prix officials are also looking for ways to build on the "festival of speed" theme. In addition to the high-speed thrills of world-class racing, fans will once again enjoy a wide variety of entertainment and activities including live music, extreme sports demonstrations, interactive rides, a Family Fun Zone, and much more. The Grand Prix is exploring entertainment options for 2007 including big-name concerts and alternative motorsports attractions.

The Grand Prix is also making several important organizational changes to allow the event to reach its goals for 2007 and beyond. In keeping with the festival and family-oriented theme of the new Grand Prix, General Manager Chuck Kosich has configured his staff to maximize that direction for the event. Maria Marzano has been named the new Assistant General Manager of the Grand Prix, and will be responsible for the day-to-day management of the Grand Prix office under the supervision of Kosich. Several additional staff members have been added to bolster the Grand Prix staff.

Kosich and Lanigan hope that the 2006 Grand Prix of Cleveland will prove to be the beginning of a great renaissance for the event. The 2007 Grand Prix will be the second of a five-year commitment that Mi-Jack has signed with Champ Car, and Lanigan hopes to carry the torch for the Grand Prix for many years beyond that.

"We believe in Cleveland and we believe in the Grand Prix of Cleveland," said Lanigan. "We are committed to continuing the traditions of the Grand Prix and growing this event into one of the finest motorsports event in the country."

For more information on the Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by U.S. Bank contact the event's downtown business office at (216) 619-RACE (7223) or visit www.grandprixofcleveland.com.

Paddock news from Istanbul: 2 Paddock news from Istanbul: 2(GMM) Michael Schumacher hinted at Istanbul on Friday that he could further delay his decision about whether or not to hang up his helmet at the end of the 2006 F1 season.

Ferrari's veteran champion was due to made a public announcement at the next race in Italy (Monza), but he told reporters here that he still has not made a decision.

''Who knows, perhaps it (the decision) will take even longer,'' the German, 37, said.

Reporters in Turkey noticed on Friday that BMW-Sauber racer Nick Heidfeld has a cold. ''It's not anything dramatic,'' he insisted.

It has emerged that BMW-Sauber's new 'Friday' tester Sebastian Vettel is only guaranteed the drive in Turkey. The German squad will assess his performance after his debut here at Istanbul.

David Coulthard has criticised Red Bull for rushing the formula one career of departing teammate Christian Klien. Austrian Klien, 23, will be replaced by Mark Webber in 2007.

''My opinion is that he's been rushed through too quickly and therefore he hasn't had the chance to show his talent,'' the Scot told a news conference.
Day 2 of testing for new Champ Car Day 2 of testing for new Champ CarUPDATE Added some additional photos to the article below, courtesy of Champ Car.

08/23/06 If Monday’s and Tuesday’s test outings at Sebring International Raceway featured the tentative first steps of the newborn American-built DP01 Champ Car, Wednesday’s testing would be akin to its first sprint as the heat got turned up, literally and figuratively, on the car that will carry the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford into 2007 and beyond. 

The car ran more than 175 miles on another hot and muggy Central Florida day, flawlessly completing a number of punishing 15-lap stints under the expert guidance of two-time Champ Car race winner Roberto Moreno. 

The test team worked late into the night to prepare the car for today’s outing, which saw the car run longer stints than most Champ Car teams complete at Sebring under normal testing conditions. The 94-degree heat turned up the degree of difficulty in today’s testing but the Panoz-built DP01 answered the bell and ran all day without incident. Zzzz 

“The whole idea is to deliver a reliable product to the teams, and that is the purpose of these tests,” said Champ Car Technical Director Scot Elkins. “We work on that by running longer stints here than the teams will normally when they get the car. From here on out, that is what we are going to continue doing.” 

Moreno, who is running his first serious stints in a Champ Car since 2003, agreed with Elkins’ assessment. 

“It is hard here to complete 15-lap runs when you normally only do seven- or eight-lap runs when you are testing,” Moreno said. “But I’m really happy with the car and with the program. We got to the point today where we are starting to fine-tune it and it has been very reliable and responsive so far.” 

The extreme heat provided an additional test for the Elan Motorsports designers, as it provided a perfect platform to check the cooling capacity of the aerodynamic designs. Not only will the aerodynamic improvements made to the DP01 increase passing opportunities and provide closer racing for the fans, it can also prolong the life of the car and its components by removing the heat from the car – which it had every opportunity to do today. 

“We’re extremely happy at this time with how things are going,” said Chief Aerodynamicist Nick Alcock. “We’re running in some extreme temperatures and the cooling systems have performed very well. We are well within the limits and even have a cushion built in, which will allow teams more latitude with their aero setups. The engine and brake cooling systems are operating right where we need them to be.” 

The testing will continue Thursday and Friday in Sebring in the first of three separate sessions to take place before the end of September. Champ Car
Alonso shrugs off 'mass damper' ban Alonso shrugs off 'mass damper' ban(GMM)  Championship leader Fernando Alonso denied in Istanbul on Friday that the definitive banning of Renault's 'mass damper' technology has given the advantage to title challenger Michael Schumacher.

''I do not have the slightest bit of fear,'' the Spaniard was quoted as saying by 'sid'.

Schumacher, driving for rival team Ferrari with five races to go, is ten points behind 25-year-old Alonso in the 2006 drivers' standings.

Experts agree that Renault's fully-integrated damper system accounted for between 0.3 to 0.5 seconds per lap at most tracks.

But Alonso insisted: ''The fact that we cannot use the dampers will have no influence.  Michael Schumacher is the one under pressure, because he is behind.''

He also confirmed to reporters in the 'Otodrom' paddock that Renault would not be contesting Wednesday's verdict of the International Court of Appeal.

Jacques’ done with F1 - manager Jacques’ done with F1 - manager(GMM)  Jacques Villeneuve's manager says the French Canadian veteran will not return to formula one.

Following the 35-year-old former champion's departure from BMW-Sauber after Hockenheim, Craig Pollock confirmed that Villeneuve - who similarly left BAR-Honda at the end of 2003 but is now linked with a NASCAR switch - is definitely now finished with the series.

''I don't think he is unduly disappointed,'' Pollock told Autosport magazine this week, ''I think he was just ready.''

He also denied that a 'headache' caused by Villeneuve's shunt during the German grand prix was the reason behind his subsequent absence, and replacement by young 'Friday' test driver Robert Kubica, in Hungary.

Pollock explained: ''It was a big accident, but he has had bigger.

''He never said he was not available.''

[Editor's Note: Jacques will fail in NASCAR having driven rear engine cars all his life.  He should return to Champ Car where he still can be competitive.  We feel that if the right opportunity arose with a team that he could win with, we would see him back....despite statements by him to the contrary.]

Jourdain replaces Borcheller at Doran Jourdain replaces Borcheller at DoranMichel Jourdain Jr will be joining Harrison Brix in the #77 Kodak EasyShare Ford Doran for the two remaining Rolex Sports Car Series races starting at this weekend’s round at Infineon Raceway.  The Mexico City-native replaces veteran road racer Terry Borcheller.  

"We decided a change would be best for both of us," Team owner Kevin Doran said. "Hopefully Michel will be able to help turn our luck around."

Jourdain drove for the team at the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona, finishing seventh in the Daytona Prototype class.  The team’s best finish of the year was fifth at Mexico City. 

"I'm looking forward to working with Kevin Doran and everyone at Doran Racing again," Jourdain said.  "They're a great group of guys. Hopefully we can have some good finishes and end up with a little better position in the championship."

"We're expecting quite a few customers of Amp'd Mobile to attend the race at Infineon, and we're looking forward to putting on a good show for them," Brix said.

Paddock news from Istanbul Paddock news from Istanbul(GMM) In the Istanbul paddock, Honda has announced a one-race deal with Turkish grand prix title sponsor 'Petrol Ofisi'. The Japanese squad will run a bespoke livery for Anthony Davidson's 'Friday' car, while the logo of the petrol company adorns the race cars of Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button.

The sad news at the 'Otodrom' venue is that former McLaren co-owner and director Creighton Brown died last Sunday after a battle with cancer.

Williams' former marketing chief, Jim Wright, will start work at the Toro Rosso team at the start of September. He will concentrate on finding sponsors for the partly Red Bull-owned team in Gerhard Berger's Monaco office.

Ayrton Senna's 22-year-old nephew, Bruno Senna, is now being linked with the Brazilian 'A1 Grand Prix' team, which is run by Emerson Fittipaldi. It is rumored that Fittipaldi has already offered him a test in the car.

Good brakes are key in Montreal Good brakes are key in Montreal“It’s a high speed track with high speed braking,” said Sebastien Bourdais, who already clinched the 2006 Bridgestone Pole Position Award but is unable to earn a fourth consecutive Bridgestone “Passion for Excellence” award for the lowest average race lap due to being taken out on the first lap in Cleveland.  “There are long, long, long and very intense braking zones going to chicanes where you have to be extremely accurate.  You can’t make any mistakes so it’s challenging and I think everybody likes it.  We have put on good races because there is quite a bit of passing and some action in the pack.  But when you’re the leader the last thing you want to see is a yellow coming about the time it came last year when you have a six or seven second lead.”

“The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is a track that has big braking areas with fast chicanes so it’s important to have a good setup under braking there,” said Bruno Junqueira who lists a Montreal restaurant as his favorite of the season.  “It’s a very nice city.  It’s a mixture of a Canadian style city and a European city and there are a lot of cool places to go.  I really enjoy racing in Montreal.”

This weekend’s Champ Car Grand Prix de Montreal can be seen live Sunday, August 27 on NBC beginning at 1:30 p.m. Eastern Time.

Diesel powered car breaks record Diesel powered car breaks recordCoventry based engineering company, Visioneering Ltd, has supplied its engineering capabilities to JCB DIESELMAX, which today achieved a stunning 350mph (563kph) to break its own land speed record for diesel-powered cars set yesterday. A new FIA international record of 328.767 mph (526.027 kph) was recorded on the Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah yesterday, and beat the existing record by almost 100 mph. 

The project has involved the development of a purpose-designed streamliner car to prove the strength, performance and versatility of the JCB444 diesel engine. The innovative car has been designed by a team led by JCB Group Engineering Director Dr Tim Leverton.

Visioneering Director of special projects, John Piper, is the Project Chief Designer for the JCB DIESELMAX programme. He has considerable experience of F1 and Le Mans race car engineering which is invaluable in his role as Project Chief Designer. JCB has used the specialist resource of Visioneering for the chassis development, custom-built components of the car and engineering packaging. A team of Visioneering engineering personnel, led by John Piper, are in Bonneville to assist with the preparation and running of the JCB DIESELMAX and have been working tirelessly throughout the project to ensure that the car will be ready for this week’s challenges. The JCB DIESELMAX streamliner car has been designed and built under John’s supervision at Visioneering Ltd in Coventry. zzzz

Brian Horner, Chief Executive, Visioneering, says of the achievements of the JCB DIESELMAX, “We’re thrilled that JCB DIESELMAX has achieved the goal that was set out at the beginning of the programme and we’re proud to be associated with it, providing the specialist engineering skills that Visioneering excels in. This type of project gives us the chance to push the boundaries of engineering technology and we have been able to provide innovative solutions for the complex needs of a world land speed record attempt vehicle. We were confident that JCB had chosen the right company to assist them with their aim of developing the world’s fastest diesel and we’re very pleased that on the first day of FIA trials, the record was broken, and today in reaching over 350mph it’s exceeded our expectations.

“I would like to thank all the Visioneering staff who have contributed to the success of the JCB DIESELMAX project. The team in Coventry and everyone in Bonneville has shown true British grit and determination, focusing completely on delivering to JCB the highest levels of engineering assistance, so that their programme would be a success. “

Visioneering is a supplier of expertise, technology and project management for the automotive, aerospace and manufacturing industries. The company is vastly experienced in automotive tooling, design engineering and parts manufacture and with  comprehensive turnkey programmes can handle Styling, Engineering, Data Control Models, Environmental Cubes, Panel Checking Fixtures, Assembly Fixtures and Tooling for Prototype and Production Parts. The enviable client list of this Coventry-based firm includes many top automotive marques and aerospace manufacturers.

The technical side of Istanbul The technical side of IstanbulAfter a three-weak break, the Renault F1 Team will begin the final phase of the 2006 world championship with the second ever Turkish Grand Prix. High temperatures, the newest circuit on the calendar and a demanding layout that includes one of the season’s most demanding corners, turn 8, should make for a demanding weekend.


Aerodynamics: Istanbul Park is a very modern circuit, and therefore still in good condition. The track surface is very smooth and the curbs are not particularly aggressive, which should mean it is relatively easy to find a stable car balance. We will use a lower downforce level than at recent races: the package for Turkey will be nearer to the medium downforce set-up employed at the North American rounds of the championship. zzzz

Tires: The tires are not given a particularly hard time in Turkey, but we must pay special attention to the front tires, and particularly the right front, which suffer in turn 8. Indeed, this corner is among the most demanding of the whole season for the front end of the car. To avoid any potential problems, we can adjust suspension settings and front wing angle; however, we must always be mindful of finding the correct balance between protecting the tires and maintaining mechanical grip, to ensure the car is quick in the more technical parts of the circuit.

Suspension: To limit tire wear, particularly at the front of the car, the main parameters we can adjust are the suspension settings. Given the demands of the circuit and its good condition, we use relatively stiff settings that mean the car changes direction well in the technical portions, and remains stable in the high-speed turns.

Brakes: The braking zone for turn 12 is the most significant on the circuit, and getting it wrong can cost the drivers a lot of time as they overshoot the apex in this slow corner. In overall terms, though, the Istanbul Park circuit is not particularly demanding on the brakes, which can cool on the long straights before the main braking zones.


Performance: Istanbul Park is a varied circuit for the engine. Almost 65% of the lap is spent at full throttle, which is an average value for the season. We need a tractable engine, with good top speed for overtaking on the main straight – but without compromising low end performance. We also look carefully at power delivery at high revs, which will make turn 8 easier to negotiate.

Cooling: Temperatures in Turkey are expected to be extremely high, but this should not pose any problems for engine cooling. At this stage of the season, we fully understand the cooling needs of the car, and there are no slow sections in which the engine might risk overheating. Furthermore, the long straights will ensure the engine is well cooled. Renault

Drivers despise hideous Car of Tomorrow Drivers despise hideous Car of TomorrowNo matter how safe NASCAR's Car of Tomorrow might be, the concept car's aesthetics won't wow drivers. While current models bear no resemblance to their passenger car counterparts, they're still closer than this next-generation model, a wider, boxier model that looks more like a Late Model or Grand American series car.

"I look at the car, and I question a lot of things," four-time champion Jeff Gordon said. "Our car right now is a race car and as much of a race car as a stock car can be. I look at the Car of Tomorrow, and I don't see much of a race car there, so I have some concerns."

He gave a thumbs-up to the aerodynamics of the rear wing.

"I like the idea of a wing, but a cool wing," Gordon said. "It's doing its job, I will say that. The rear wing is one of the better ideas they've had on this car because it allows a little more air to get to the car behind it, and it also is more efficient."

"I think (it's) the ugliest car I've ever seen," rookie Reed Sorenson said. "I don't even want to get in it. I'll wait until they make us next year. They're pretty ugly." USA Today

[Editor's Note: Other than the headlight decals and the decals that say Toyota, Ford, Chevy or Dodge, the COT looks nothing like a 'stock' car. It looks nothing like the cars the manufacturers actually sell to customers. In fact the manufacturers make nothing on the car whatsoever except for the engine, which in Toyota's case they do not even make a car with a pushrod engine and none of the manufacturers sell cars with carburetors. Toyota had to build a special engine just for NASCAR. Bottom line, the term stock car should never again be used by NASCAR, because they are anything but stock.]

Wright joins Toro Rosso Wright joins Toro RossoJim Wright, the former head of marketing at Williams, has joined Scuderia Toro Rosso as the head of marketing.
Full mass damper ruling Full mass damper rulingINTERNATIONAL COURT OF APPEAL (I.C.A.) of The 

Referred by the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile by virtue of Article 1 of the Regulations of the International Court of Appeal


Appeal against Decision N°8 handed down by the Stewards of the Meeting on 28 July 2006 concerning the T car of competitor Mild Seven Renault F1 on the occasion of the Grand Prix of Germany and counting towards the 2006 FIA Formula One World Championship

Hearing of Tuesday 22 August 2006 in Paris

The FIA INTERNATIONAL COURT OF APPEAL, comprising Mr. Philippe ROBERTI de WINGHE (Belgium), elected President, Mr. Pierre TOURIGNY (Canada), Mr. John CASSIDY (United States), and Mr. Anthony SCRIVENER (Great Britain),

Meeting in Paris on Tuesday 22 August 2006 at the Headquarters of the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile, 8 place de la Concorde, 75008 Paris,

Ruling on the appeal lodged by the FIA against Decision N°8 of the Stewards of the Meeting of the Grand Prix of Germany handed down on 28 July 2006 authorizing the use of mass dampers;

After hearing:

For the FIA, the appellant, Mr. Pierre de CONINCK, Secretary General of the Sport Department, Mr. Sebastien BERNARD, Head of the Legal Department, Mr. Charlie WHITING, Director of the Technical Department, Mr. Jo BAUER, Technical Delegate, assisted by Mr. Peter WRIGHT, technical expert requested by the FIA; zzzz

For the respondent, Mild Seven Renault F1, Mr. Steve NIELSEN, Team Manager, Mr. Pat SYMONDS, Executive Director of Engineering, Mr. Bob BELL, Technical Director, assisted by Mr. Ali MALEK, QC and by Andrew FORD, Lawyer, and Mr. Robin S. SHARP technical expert requested by the Mild Seven Renault F1 Team;

After acknowledging that the due hearing of all parties had been respected, that the appeal was admissible, the rights of all parties having been duly examined both prior to the hearing and during the hearing itself, and the appellant, the respondent, the advisors and experts having been cross-examined and having supplied detailed explanations and answers to questions when asked during the hearing by way of a system of simultaneous interpretation which was not in any way criticized by the parties;

WHEREAS the explanations provided by the FIA concerned the implementation of Articles 1.4, 1.14, and 3.15 of the Technical Regulations;

WHEREAS the appellant asserts that the Tuned Mass Damper (TMD) had an impact on the aerodynamic performance of the car and that it was not part of the suspension as defined by Article 1.14 of the Technical Regulations because it is integrated and part of the bodywork and cannot be separated from it;

WHEREAS the appellant also claims that this device includes, inside the casing attached to the bodywork, a mass of between 5 and 10 kilograms sprung by two springs suspended from the casing, that is to say the bodywork, the purpose of which is to decrease compressions and travel when a car is driven over imperfections on a track, and which thus has an aerodynamic impact on the nose of the bodywork, independently of any other effects;

WHEREAS the respondent claims on the other hand that the primary objective of this device is to avoid vibrations caused by imperfections on the track and, in both the memorandum from Mild Seven Renault F1 and the declarations made by the respondent and experts during the hearing: "only offers a small, subsidiary aerodynamic advantage" and produces a "small consequential improvement in aerodynamics";

WHEREAS the expert called by Mild Seven Renault F1, Professor Robin S SHARP, specified in his memorandum that "the aerodynamic benefit obtained by using TMDs is small, secondary, and incidental to the main purpose which is vibration control";

WHEREAS those statements were confirmed by Mild Seven Renault F1 during the hearing;

WHEREAS whatever the benefit may be, even if downplayed by Mild Seven Renault F1, it is necessary to apply Article 3.15 of the Formula One Technical Regulations which specifies that: "........any specific part of the car influencing its aerodynamic performance:

  • must comply with the rules relating to bodywork.
  • must be rigidly secured to the entirely sprung part of the car (rigidly secured means not having any degree of freedom).
  • must remain immobile in relation to the sprung part of the car.......";

WHEREAS consequently, the TMD with its mobile mass is not in compliance with Article 3.15 of the Formula One Technical Regulations which also include Articles 2.4 and 2.6 which specify that cars must fully comply with the Technical Regulations during the whole duration of an event;

WHEREAS the TMD is not a suspended part as defined by Article 1.14 of the Formula One Technical Regulations which states that the sprung suspension is "the means whereby all complete wheels are suspended from the body/chassis unit by a spring medium";

WHEREAS it is necessary to give credit to all parties for their willingness to communicate with each other on the subject, it is however necessary, for any future developments that might apply to similar devices, to refer to Article 2.4 of the Technical Regulations which allows competitors to justify the innovations which are suggested, and to obtain official clarification from the FIA in this respect, which was not the case;

WHEREAS in the light of the principles mentioned with respect to the application of certain articles of the Formula One Technical Regulations, and in the mutual interest of the competitors and of the FIA, the ICA does not wish to pronounce a sentence with regard to the costs of the hearing;


STATES and RULES that the FIA's appeal is admissible;

DECLARES that the appeal is founded;

QUASHES consequently Decision N°8 taken by the Stewards of the Meeting on 28 July 2006 at the Grand Prix of Germany;


STATES AND RULES that use of the device known as TMD is an infringement of Article 3.15 of the Formula One Technical Regulations.

Paris, 22 August 2006


Cup teams to test at Milwaukee Cup teams to test at MilwaukeeThe Milwaukee Mile will play a key role in the performance of select Nextel Cup Series teams this coming Monday, August 28 and Tuesday, August 29. Richard Childress Racing’s three ‘Cup drivers, #29-Kevin Harvick, #31-Jeff Burton and #07-Clint Bowyer will be testing over the two days, in preparation for similar ovals ahead on the Nextel Cup Series schedule, including Martinsville, Va, Richmond, VA, and Phoenix, AZ. Potentially all three Evernham Motorsports teams are expected, and there may be others. “In a show of appreciation to our fans, we welcome all to come out and watch these Nextel Cup teams conduct valuable test sessions from our all-aluminum grandstands free of charge,” commented Milwaukee Mile president & CEO Andy Randall. “We are pleased the teams allow us this opportunity for our fans to watch.” The grandstands will be open from 9:00am until 5:00pm both days. There will be no infield access to view the test sessions. Limited concessions will be available. Milwaukee Mile
Q and A Michelin Motorsport Director Q and A Michelin Motorsport Director
Michelin critical of Bridgestone Michelin critical of Bridgestone(GMM) Michelin has made a veiled criticism of current competitor Bridgestone for vowing to stick around as the sole tire supplier in formula one.

In protest of the FIA's 2008 regulations, the French marque is quitting the sport at the end of this year, and Michelin motor sport director Frederic Henry-Biabaud on Wednesday queried Bridgestone's logic in not doing the same.

''You might well question the point of a tire manufacturer taking part in a series on those terms,'' he said.

Japanese supplier Bridgestone, locked in battle with Michelin for the outcome of the Ferrari versus Renault world championship in 2006, has won the tender to supply all formula one teams in 2008.

But Michelin's Biabaud, pointing out that Bridgestone runners will win grands prix in the future but also simultaneously finish last, wondered: ''Apart from a bit of brand recognition, where's the appeal?''

The Frenchman also made reference to speculation that Bridgestone might begin to favor some teams over others once its monopoly gets into gear in 2007.

''Teams also came to us because they were guaranteed equal treatment –- something for which we have cultivated a reputation,'' Biabaud said.

''Motorsport has been part of Michelin Group culture for more than 110 years. For us it has never been about scoring marketing points.''

Toyota offer axed designer $1.7m Toyota offer axed designer $1.7m(GMM) F1 team Toyota has offered to settle for (US) $1.7 million a law case brought by axed chief designer Gustav Brunner.

The 55-year-old, who at the end of last year was let go after Toyota said his role had become 'obsolete', has two weeks to consider the Cologne court's proposed compromise, according to Auto Motor Und Sport.

It was rumored at the time that Brunner did not get along with some of his key colleagues, while a Toyota lawyer reportedly said in court that the Austrian veteran was no longer an expert in modern technology.

''Someone (at Toyota) said to me, 'you have ten minutes to collect your things','' Brunner, who earned around $40,000 per month, recalled of his departure.

Shortly after Brunner left Toyota, he was then implicated in the notorious Toyota-Ferrari espionage scandal, involving the theft of information and software for the design of F1 cars in 2003.

If he turns down Toyota's compensation offer, the Cologne court will reconvene next month.

Locals expect warm, dry Turkish GP Locals expect warm, dry Turkish GP(GMM)  Istanbul looks set to turn on a warm and dry weekend for the second Turkish GP.

Local television station 'Kanal 7' is forecasting weather in the low-30s (C) from Thursday through to Saturday, which could rise to 33 on race day at the 'Otodrom' circuit, located on the Asian side of the famous Bosphorus bridge.

The highest chance of rain is for Thursday morning, but the skies should be clear by noon.

The spectacular Otodrom was built at a cost of some $100 million for its debut last August, but traffic and logistical chaos prevented many fans from even reaching the circuit for the green flag.

Petrol Ofisi backs Honda team in Turkey Petrol Ofisi backs Honda team in TurkeyFresh from its momentous first win in the Hungarian Grand Prix, the Honda Racing F1 Team has agreed a partnership for the next race with Turkish Grand Prix title sponsor, Petrol Ofisi.

Petrol Ofisi is the largest and leading retail and wholesale petroleum distributor in Turkey. It operates two lubricants blending plants, 12 terminals and 26 supply units, and sells gasoline, diesel fuel and lubricants through more than 3,500 retail service stations (which includes its Petrol Ofisi and Erk brand stations). Petrol Ofisi also offers aviation and marine fuel, kerosene and natural gas. Its commercial and industrial sales unit offers fuel to companies in agriculture, construction and mining, transportation, as well as fuel oil distributors. Turkish conglomerate Dogan Holding and leading central European petroleum company OMV jointly control Petrol Ofisi. zzzz

In Turkey, Petrol Ofisi will enjoy the benefit of a bespoke livery for the Honda Racing F1 Team's T-car on Friday, with the company's logo also featuring on the race cars of Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello and the team's trackside environment of the garage and motorhome throughout the Grand Prix weekend.

Welcoming Petrol Ofisi to the team, Honda Racing F1 Team Chief Executive Nick Fry commented: "Our partnership with Petrol Ofisi for the Turkish Grand Prix is very exciting for both parties, especially since it comes hot on the heels of our fantastic win in Hungary three weeks ago. We are delighted that Petrol Ofisi, title sponsor of the race this weekend, will be able to share in this thrilling time for the team as we return to the racetrack fresh from Formula One's three-week break and ready to tackle the remaining five races with renewed vigor. We look forward to a very enjoyable race weekend in Istanbul with Petrol Ofisi."

Commenting on behalf of Petrol Ofisi, Jan Nahum, Chief Executive Officer, said: "We are very excited about our partnership with the Honda Racing F1 Team for the Turkish Grand Prix. The objective of our F1 involvement is to reach a wide international audience and our relationship with the Honda Racing F1 Team and Honda Motor Company underlines our global ambitions to expand into other international markets. In this context, we hope to develop our partnership with the Honda Racing F1 Team and Honda further. Our partnership in Turkey provides us with a flexible marketing tool in support of our title sponsorship of the race and in addition to excellent brand visibility affords us the added dimension of being able to really tap into our passion for F1 through access to such a leading team, its drivers and senior personnel. We are particularly pleased to be joining forces with Honda at such an exciting time in the wake of the team's first win in Hungary."

Champ Car could learn from F1 Champ Car could learn from F1A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I read with great interest the story on how paint schemes are created in F1.   I love the paint scheme on the new Champ Car.  Most Champ Car teams have the most hideous looking paint schemes, downright hideous if you ask me, and quite amateurish.  Champ Car should hire whoever did the paint scheme on the new DP01 and mandate that they do the paint scheme for all the teams.  It's about time Champ Car teams present themselves as profession entities. Cliff Black, Oakland, CA
Martin Bests Bodine for Bristol Win Martin Bests Bodine for Bristol WinMark Martin’s fourth NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series victory of the 2006 season looked simple enough – and it was, thanks to strategy called by Scotts Ford crew chief Mike Beam.

Just 30 laps into Wednesday night’s O’Reilly 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway, Beam called Budweiser Pole winner and race leader Martin to pit road for a quick fill-up of Sunoco fuel and the driver was good to go for the rest of the 200 laps.

With a hard tire compound, track position and nine caution flags, Martin was able to hold off championship leader Todd Bodine’s Lumber Liquidators Ford to claim a .149-second victory and a payoff of $47,350 before a Bristol series record crowd estimated at 64,000.

Martin led for the final time from lap 66 when defending race winner Mike Skinner pitted for fuel and tires. Skinner – and others who pitted later – never were able dislodge Martin from the point despite numerous restarts, the final of which came with two laps remaining.  zzzz

“We just had one of those magical set-ups,” said the 47-year-old Martin, who became the first driver in Bristol Motor Speedway history to win in all three of NASCAR’s three national touring series. “We never really raced (anyone). It (seemed like) we were under caution every other lap.”

The victory was Martin’s fifth in the series and 41st for Jack Roush, who extended his record for most wins by a series owner. Martin last won at Dover International Speedway on June 1 after winning the season’s opening races at Daytona and California - where the victim on both occasions was Bodine.

Bodine edged Martin at Atlanta making it a combined four top-two finishes by the pair in 2006.

“We didn’t have anything for Mark,” said Bodine, who unofficially extending his championship lead over fourth-finishing Johnny Benson to 154 points with eight races remaining on the schedule.

Bodine’s Germain Racing teammate Ted Musgrave finished third in the Team ASE Toyota – his late-race charge blunted by a frontstretch tangle with the lapped truck of Travis Kittleson. Benson’s Exide Toyota was followed in fifth by David Starr, who recovered from a pair of penalties – a rear of the field start after his Red Horse Racing Toyota crew repaired qualifying damage and a one-lap penalty assessed by NASCAR for a pass-to-the-left pass at the fall of the green flag.

Kyle Busch, Skinner, Mike Bliss, Bobby Hamilton and David Reutimann filled out the top 10 as 20 competitors completed the 200-lap distance around the .533-mile, concrete-surfaced track.

Thirty-two of the 36 starters were around at the finish despite a number of minor incidents contributing to 53 laps of cautions that held Martin’s winning average speed to a sedate 72.081 mph – far off his pole winning run of 125.248.

Next event is the Sept. 16 New Hampshire 200 at New Hampshire International Speedway.

TV News
USA TV reminders for Friday USA TV reminders for FridayCourtesy of TVRacer.com

Formula One Practice Turkey
7:00am-8:00am (L) SPEED
NASCAR Live! Bristol
2:30pm-3:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Qualifying  Bristol
3:30pm-4:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Live! Bristol
4:30pm-5:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Busch Qualifying  Bristol
5:00pm-6:00pm (L) SPEED
Trackside Bristol
6:00pm-7:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Final Practice Bristol
7:00pm-7:45pm (SDD) TNT
NASCAR Busch Series  Bristol
7:45pm-10:30pm (L) TNT

All times listed are ET.  For a complete listing of TV Programs, see TVRacer.com.
Toyota to unveil major aero update Toyota to unveil major aero updateToyota says it will debut 'very interesting aerodynamic developments' around the car's front wing in Turkey.

The Japanese team's 'senior general manager chassis', Pascal Vasselon, said, ''We know what we could expect from the wind tunnel,'' he explained, ''but we will have to check afterwards to see if the figures match up (on the Istanbul track).

''But it is certainly one of the most interesting updates of the season for us.''

NASCAR 'RaceDay' continues growth NASCAR 'RaceDay' continues growthScoring an average Nielsen Household Rating of 1.08 (727,000 Households) last weekend at Michigan, NASCAR RaceDay continues to demonstrate tremendous growth as the definitive NASCAR pre-race show. The Michigan show peaked at 1.34 (899,000 HH) and year-to-date, NASCAR RaceDay is up 25 percent over last year’s pre-race show on SPEED, with much of the growth coming in younger demographics.

“The chemistry between our on-air team -- John Roberts, Jimmy Spencer, Kenny Wallace and Wendy Venturini -- is incredible,” said Chris Long, VP of Studio Production for SPEED. “That’s the key to the growing popularity … it’s the people you see on camera, and dozens more behind the scenes, working their butts off each week to bring NASCAR fans an entertaining and informative show.

“We’ve done a lot to increase the show’s appeal, including infusing it with more music and updating graphics packages,” Long added. “But at the end of the day, it’s the people. This team is delivering week in and week out and the fans are responding to it.”

Fourteen of the year’s 24 episodes of NASCAR RaceDay have enjoyed double-digit ratings growth, including five of the last seven. Ratings among Men 18-34 are up 43 percent from a year ago.

Briscoe back for Infineon race Briscoe back for Infineon raceDreyer & Reinbold Racing turns to a road course ringer again this weekend at Infineon Raceway.

Ryan Briscoe, who started from the pole in the inaugural race on the 12-turn, 2.26-mile circuit last year and recorded a third-place finish in June at Watkins Glen International for the team, returns in the No. 5 Honda-powered Dallara for the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma.

Sarah Fisher competed in the car at Kentucky Speedway two weeks ago (started and finished 12th), and will drive in the season-ending race at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 10. Briscoe, who recently moved from Indianapolis to Charlotte, N.C., last week drove in a V8 Super Car race in his native Australia.

“I love Infineon,” said Briscoe, who claimed the top spot after the “Firestone Fast Six” competition that followed single-car qualifying. “I was on pole there last year and I can’t wait to head back there with the Dreyer & Reinbold team. We’ve had success together. We got third at Watkins Glen and that was a great result, and I think another top five won’t be out of the question.” Indycar.com

Racing News
Insight into Red Bull as a sponsor Insight into Red Bull as a sponsorThe drink claims to defy gravity. The company's sports business strategies try to defy convention. While sports marketing and the attachment of corporations to teams and events continues to grow at a significant pace, Red Bull has managed to stake its claim with a sense of rebellion.

Today, there are few gasps of disbelief when it comes to sports and corporate sponsorship. Fans have grown used to hearing the Sugar Bowl referred to as the Nokia Sugar Bowl. The halftime show must be preceded by a title presenter, and a 30-second ad during Super Bowl XL in February reportedly cost $2.5 million. David Gilliland's NASCAR stock car is covered by representations of larger-than-life M&Ms.

Seemingly on its own little island lies Red Bull. The company that produces the highly caffeinated energy drink of the same name has managed to push into the sports business world in a way that could be either just consistent with its corporate philosophy or a trend soon to be adopted by others.

Red Bull's approach lies in the ownership of teams and events rather than just the sponsorship of them; this gives the company not just exposure but also control. Founder Dietrich Mateschitz estimates spending $300 million, or about a third of his company's annual marketing expenditures, on sports sponsorships.

The most well known, and the costliest, are the two Formula One teams. In March, Mateschitz -- who is based in Austria -- bought the New York MetroStars of Major League Soccer and renamed them the New York Red Bulls.

In 2007, Mateschitz will expand that sports budget by starting a two-car NASCAR team not surprisingly named Team Red Bull. There also are the smaller events: Alpine skiing, BASE jumping, sailing, BMX freestyle dirt and skateboard vert.

David Carter, the executive director of the USC Sports Business Institute, said the energy drink industry has made strides in sports marketing, in part because the brands transcend their immediate demographic category. Red Bull has branded itself a lifestyle product and has aligned itself with the lifestyle associated with action or extreme sports and motorsports.

"Clearly, sports have become entertainment, and in many ways, Red Bull has become a lifestyle product linked to entertainment in its own right," Carter said. "Red Bull's brand is more robust than a lot of other brands in that category."  More at Washington Post

ZOLL Medical Corporation Joins Champ Car ZOLL Medical Corporation Joins Champ CarINDIANAPOLIS – The Champ Car World Series Medical Team, along with its fast-response Safety Team, is known throughout motorsports for its world-class safety and medical care at the racetrack, having set the standard for accident response and medical attention at racing events around the world.

Champ Car’s Safety Team enhanced its response and life-saving capacity even further today with the announcement that ZOLL Medical Corporation has signed an agreement to become an Official Supplier of the Medical team for the remainder of the 2006 season and for 2007.

ZOLL will supply defibrillators and its portable M Series® CCT biphasic defibrillator/monitor to the Champ Car Safety Team, along with the new AED Pro® with Real CPR Help™ technology. external defibrillator  The AED Pro is designed for outside use in harsh environments.

“We are delighted to have ZOLL as the exclusive supplier of out critical-care monitors and automatic external defibrillators for the Champ Car Medical Center and Safety Team,” said Champ Car Medical Director, Dr. Chris Pinderski. “The capabilities of these units help us maintain the highest level of emergency care both on and off of the track.”

Rahal trying to wrestle championship lead from Pagenaud Rahal trying to wrestle championship lead from PagenaudGraham Rahal has only one focus as he heads into the penultimate weekend of the Champ Car Atlantics Championship, and that is winning. A clean sweep of the points for the young driver last time out in Denver narrowed the gap to championship leader, Simone Pagenaud, with Rahal lying only 16 points behind the Frenchman with two race weekends left in which to battle for the title.

Rahal has is taking the fight to Pagenaud as he attempts to wrestle the lead away from him and he couldn't have done more than he did in Denver, winning every championship point available to him. This strong performance has added to Rahal's confidence and he heads to Montreal with high hopes.

Rahal says, "There's no doubt this could be the deciding race. I need to keep my nose clean throughout the weekend, but I'll be going there to win. I've raced in Montreal for the last couple of years, so the track's not new to me, but I don't think Pagenaud has raced there, so perhaps I'll have an advantage. I'm out to do the best I can and enjoy myself. I'll concentrate on my own performance and work hard each day to get the most from myself and the car. That's as much as I can do. zzzz

"Montreal's a great track and with concrete walls a little further away than on the street courses we've been running on recently, it can be a little more forgiving. It's also a fairly fast track and we've shown that we have a quick car, so I hope that'll help us. I'm not making any predictions for the weekend, we'll just have to see what happens."

Ten of the 12 rounds in the Champ Car Atlantic Championship have been completed and Rahal has been one of the leading title contenders from the season opener in Long Beach. On his series debut he finished a creditable fifth and has followed this with four pole positions and four victories, and a total of five podiums.  He lies second in the overall driver's championship with 209 points and second in the rookie of the year standings. Leader Pagenaud has 225 points, but with a maximum of 35 points on offer each race weekend, the title race is being closely fought. In third place Andreas Wirth, on 193 points is also a threat to Rahal's title hopes.

Next weekend's event will be the 20th consecutive year of Atlantic running in Montreal, the second longest track on the calendar. Track action begins on Friday for Rahal and his rivals, with the first practice session slated for early morning and provisional qualifying in the afternoon. Preparations continue on Saturday with further practice and final qualifying sessions. The race starts on Sunday at 11.00 ET.

Racing News
Allmendinger takes lead in Top 20 Driver Ranking Allmendinger takes lead in Top 20 Driver RankingINDIANAPOLIS – Forsythe Championship Racing knew that it made a key acquisition in signing U.S.-born open-wheel star A.J. Allmendinger (#7 Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) in the middle of the 2006 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford season, but even fabled team owner Gerald Forsythe likely didn’t realize that he had signed the top driver in the world.

But this week, Allmendinger is just that as he takes the lead in the SPEED Driver Rakings for this week, climbing to the top of the list that rates drivers from all around the world including Champ Car, NASCAR, Formula 1 and the Indy Racing League

Allmendinger moved to the top of this week’s SPEED Driver Rankings for the first time this season, joining points leader Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald’s Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) as the only drivers from an American open-wheel series to lead the rankings this year. The Californian moved to the top on the strength of his fourth win of the year – all earned after his move to Forsythe – when he romped to victory two weeks ago in Denver.

The former Champ Car Atlantic champion and Champ Car rookie of the year holds a narrow lead over former NASCAR champion Matt Kenseth in the ratings system developed by STATS Inc. and done in conjunction with the motorsports cable network.  Current year results, last 10 races, last five races and last race are factored in equally, with an adjustment factor to compensate for the series different scoring systems. In addition, a competition difficulty factor has been included to balance the competitive depth of each series.

Allmendinger will look to solidify his perch above the rankings with this weekend’s Champ Car Grand Prix de Montreal, taking place on the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve Friday through Sunday, August 25-27. For more information, go to www.champcar.ws. For the full SPEED Driver Rankings, go to www.speedtv.com.

Updated 8-23-06
Pos. (LW) Driver (Series) Pts
1. (2) A.J. Allmendinger (CCWS) 8.026
2. (13) Matt Kenseth (NASCAR) 7.910
3. (11) Jeff Gordon (NASCAR) 7.492
4. (1) Kevin Harvick (NASCAR) 7.382
5. (4) Sam Hornish Jr. (IRL) 7.253
6. (8) Denny Hamlin (NASCAR) 7.249
7. (5) Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS) 7.217
8. (10) Tony Stewart (NASCAR) 7.175
9. (6) Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR) 7.147
10. (19) Mark Martin (NASCAR) 6.957
11. (9) Michael Schumacher (F1) 6.893
12. (NR) Kasey Kahne (NASCAR) 6.467
13. (14) Dan Wheldon (IRL) 6.424
14. (NR) Dale Earnhardt Jr. (NASCAR) 6.373
15. (17) Justin Wilson (CCWS) 6.339
16. (15) Scott Dixon (IRL) 6.337
17. (NR) Greg Biffle (NASCAR) 6.310
18. (18) Helio Castroneves (IRL) 6.266
19. (20) Brian Vickers (NASCAR) 6.214
20. (12) Carl Edwards (NASCAR) 5.956
Dropped out: Kyle Busch (NASCAR), Jeff Burton (NASCAR), Kurt Busch (NASCAR)
Provided by STATS Inc.
Current year results, last 10 races, last five races and last race are factored in equally, with an adjustment factor to compensate for the series different scoring systems. In addition, a competition difficulty factor has been included to balance the competitive depth of each series.

Raines to drive No. 96 DLP®HDTV Chevrolet '07 season Raines to drive No. 96 DLP®HDTV Chevrolet '07 seasonTony Raines will compete in every event on the 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series schedule.

“Two-and-a-half months before the Daytona 500, we didn’t even own a lug nut,” said Bill Saunders, managing partner of Hall of Fame Racing. “Without the heart, desire and talent of Tony Raines and Philippe Lopez, we couldn’t have come this far. And without the help and leadership of Terry Labonte, we don’t even get started. We’ve come a long way this year, but we are not putting consistently good race cars on the track yet. So it’s hard to evaluate just how good our driver is or can be. We are going to get better and give Tony something to showcase his talent.”

Raines has shared driving duties with Labonte this season, posting a best finish of 11th on August 6 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. Labonte drove the first five races of the season and the two road course events at Sonoma (Calif.) and Watkins Glen (N.Y.). Raines has competed in 16 races and will drive the remaining events on the 2006 schedule.

“I’m happy to be coming back,” Raines said. “I think we’ve made progress and we’re learning, but we are a long way from being as good as I know we will be. I’m looking forward to finishing 2006 in a strong way and having a great season in 2007 in the DLP HDTV Chevy.”

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in briefUPDATE
FIA court bans 'mass dampers

Drunk Kimi caught driving car
Indy hopes for 'long term' US GP deal
Toyota to reveal 'interesting' update
Drivers to discuss doping in Turkey
Stoddart re-launches 'OzJet'
TV star Muniz completes first Atlantic test TV star Muniz completes first Atlantic testWith two races remaining in the 2006 Formula BMW USA season, Jensen MotorSport rookie driver Frankie Muniz is already making preparations for his 2007 competition in the Champ Car Atlantic series.

Jensen MotorSport driver Muniz had a very successful first test in one of the team’s 2005 specification Swift Atlantic race cars at a circuit near Toronto Canada on August 22nd.  Muniz drove over 100 miles on non-series specification Hoosier tires per the Atlantic series rules, clocking a best time within 2 seconds of the times posted by 2006 regular Jensen Atlantic drivers Tim Bridgman and Ricardo Vassmer.

Frankie Muniz stated, “It’s amazing to think about how quickly my racing career has progressed. Six months ago I had never driven a racing car, and now I’ve put in a full-day Atlantic test clocking times that are not too far off veteran competitive drivers. With an extensive schedule of Atlantic tests this off-season, I am very excited to think where I can be on the grid for the first race of the 2007 Champ Car Atlantic race.”

Muniz will travel with the Jensen MotorSport team to the Champ Car Grand Prix do Montreal, where he will compete in the FF1600 support race for some additional race experience.

For more details about Jensen MotorSport and Frankie Muniz racing program, contact Graeme Young via e-mail at team@jensenmotorsport.com

TNT Signs NASCAR Analyst Wally Dallenbach TNT Signs NASCAR Analyst Wally DallenbachTurner Network Television (TNT) announced today that it has agreed to a multi-year contract agreement with TNT/NBC NASCAR analyst Wally Dallenbach to continue his role exclusively with TNT beginning in 2007 for the network’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup coverage. Dallenbach, a TNT analyst since 2001, will join play-by-play announcer Bill Weber in the booth as TNT kicks off its new seven-year NASCAR package next June with six consecutive NEXTEL Cup Series races, a first in Turner’s 24 years of NASCAR coverage, including marquee races at Daytona, California (Sonoma) and Chicago.

In addition to his role as an analyst, Dallenbach has established a popular pre-race show segment titled Wally’s World, where he has described how to drive the different tracks and has driven celebrities such as Will Ferrell, Quentin Tarantino, Jamie Foxx, Lisa Marie Presley and Ben Affleck around the racetrack and exposed them to the excitement and intensity of NASCAR. In 2007 Dallenbach will also provide exclusive content to NASCAR.com, operated by Turner Sports New Media. zzzz

“His knowledge of the sport coupled with his popularity amongst viewers and drivers alike make Wally one of the best in the business,” said Jeff Behnke, Turner Sports executive producer. “We are fortunate to have Wally continue as an integral part of the TNT announcing booth as we gear up for an exciting slate of races in 2007.”

“I’m looking forward to continuing my role as an analyst for TNT. As the sport of NASCAR continues to grow, it is wonderful to be a part of a team that is committed to bringing viewers the best coverage in the business," said Dallenbach.

Dallenbach distinguishes himself from other announcers by maintaining active status as a driver and continuing to compete in Grand Am and ALMS racing. He also brings more than 20 years of racing experience and has competed in more than 220 Cup races throughout his career, most recently in 2001 when he drove the No. 33 car for the injured Joe Nemechek at the Pocono 500. Dallenbach’s first NASCAR event was in 1991 when he drove for Junie Donlavey followed by racing for teams owned by Jack Roush, Richard Petty, Bud Moore, Felix Sabates and Rick Hendrick. In addition to Cup racing, Dallenbach won the 24 Hours of Daytona four times, the 12 Hours of Sebring three times and the Sports Car Club of America Trans-Am series championships twice.

TNT’s new NEXTEL Cup Series rights package, which includes six consecutive races per year, begins in 2007 and extends through the 2014 season. It includes races in Daytona, California (Sonoma) and Chicago as well as Pocono, Michigan and New Hampshire.

Vettel to drive the third BMW Sauber Vettel to drive the third BMW SauberMunich/Hinwil - The BMW Sauber F1 Team will be back to its full complement of three cars for the Turkish Grand Prix: next to Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica, 19-year-old Sebastian Vettel (Heppenheim, GER) will be out on the track on Friday at the wheel of the third BMW Sauber F1.06.

BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen: "We are giving Sebastian the chance to prove what he is already capable of. Sebastian is the next in line in the squad of young drivers, and at the age of just 19 has already carved out a long and successful track record in karting, Formula BMW and Formula 3. Of course Istanbul isn't going to be a walkover for him. Sebastian has far fewer F1 test kilometers on the clock compared to Robert when he joined us. That has to be borne in mind. We will do all we can to support him."

In Istanbul Sebastian will be taking over the job that Robert Kubica did during the first twelve GP weekends in 2006. Since the Hungarian Grand Prix, the Pole has been a team driver and, together with Nick Heidfeld, will be contesting the races for the BMW Sauber F1 Team for the remainder of the season.

Ahead of his involvement in Istanbul, newcomer Vettel had this to say: "I'm absolutely thrilled that the BMW Sauber F1 Team has shown its confidence in me by granting me this opportunity. At the same time, of course, I'm aware that my limited experience in a Formula One car means it's going to be a major challenge. But I will focus totally on the task in hand and try to support Nick, Robert and the engineers in their work as best I can to provide them with plenty of valuable information."

Vettel was born in Heppenheim in the German state of Hesse on 3rd July 1987. He began competing in karting in 1995, winning the German and European Junior Kart Championships in 2001, among other triumphs. In 2004 he made his mark by winning 18 out of 20 races in the German Formula BMW ADAC Championship. Since then he has been sponsored by BMW and Red Bull. He has twice been invited by BMW to take a test drive: in September 2005 and July 2006. Vettel is also competing in the Formula 3 Euro Series, where he won the rookie class in 2005. In the current season he has already taken three wins and is in second place overall after twelve out of 20 races. BMW Sauber

Track News
RIR Announces Expansion Project RIR Announces Expansion ProjectRICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond Int'l Raceway President Doug Fritz announced a seat expansion project that will help the facility keep pace with the demand for tickets to the NASCAR weekends at the three-quarter-mile oval. A new 7,843-seat grandstand will be erected behind the now-standing Commonwealth Grandstand in the first turn. There will also be the addition of a 700-person, members-only club for individual fans looking to enjoy a race weekend or entertain business clients. The project will be completed by the first NASCAR weekend in May of 2007.
It's official: Pizzonia returns to Rocketsports It's official: Pizzonia returns to RocketsportsEAST LANSING, Michigan - Rocketsports Racing is happy to announce the return of Antonio Pizzonia to the Champ Car paddock this weekend as he will pilot the #18 Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone teaming up with Nicky Pastorelli for the Grand Prix de Montreal.

Pizzonia turned heads on the Rocketsports Racing team back in March when he tested a Champ Car for the first time.  With only a few hours of seat time, he was running laps close to the best times that were posted by other Champ Car teams at that venue, which resulted in a very positive test and left a strong impression with the Rocketsports team owner, Paul Gentilozzi.  He signed a one-race deal with the team to make his Champ Car debut in Long Beach, California piloting the #8 Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone.  He qualified 11th (which is the best starting position the team has earned thus far in 2006, matching Pastorelli's Portland start) and by 11 laps into the race, he was running in the sixth spot.  He held his own in his first Champ Car event and finished the day in the top-ten, 10th overall.

"I am so excited to be returning to the Champ Car paddock," said Pizzonia.  "I am really looking forward to having another opportunity to run with the Rocketsports team and think that we can have a good weekend together in the #18 Rocketsports car.  I am familiar with Circuit Gilles Villeneuve from my past days in Formula One (raced in Montreal in 2003 as a driver for the Jaguar Racing Team in F1), so that is a definite plus for not only me as a rookie Champ Car driver, but it will also be a nice advantage for the team.  I hope to have a good weekend, enjoy myself, and leave Montreal with a good finish for Rocketsports." zzzz

Pastorelli has made eight Champ Car starts with the team.  He came on board after the one-off race with Pizzonia at the beginning of the season and made his debut in Houston driving the #8 Rocketsports Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone.  The Italo-Dutch driver will remain behind the wheel of the #8 car this weekend as he looks to compete on his second road course in a Champ Car and for the second time in Canada.

"I am looking forward to running on familiar racing terrain this weekend," said Pastorelli.  "Back in Europe I raced on a lot of different style road courses, so I am excited to try out the Montreal circuit.   I am also looking forward to working with Antonio this weekend because it is always great to have a teammate to work with, especially one that knows the track already.  The team and I tested at Road America in Wisconsin at the beginning of the month, so I had a little taste of what it would be running on a permanent road course once again.  That test went pretty well, so I am looking forward to what I can do in the #8 Rocketsports car this weekend with the help from my team.  They had a good result here last year with a rookie, so I hope that I too can have a good weekend in Montreal and have a solid finish."

A 'rookie' tag is not too bad for this team at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.  During the team's rookie year in 2003, then-driver Alex Tagliani earned the team's second pole position and went on to finish fourth in Montreal. Last year, Rocketsports driver and 2005 Rookie-of-the-Year Timo Glock found himself in front of the pack in Montreal pacing his first laps in a Champ Car.  He maintained the lead for 19 laps as the Molson Indy Montreal headed toward the checkered flag.  After a penalty forced Glock to give up the lead on the final lap of the race, he still finished on the podium as the runner up.  The Rocketsports driver was the only rookie to finish in the top ten last year and was awarded a point for obtaining the most positions during the race after starting 11th.  

Tonis Kasemets, who has piloted the #18 Rocketsports Champ Car in four races this season with the team, will return to the Champ Car cockpit at Road America, which is his next scheduled race with the team after signing a six-race deal.  However, he will be in a different-kind of cockpit - a closed one - this weekend as he will be co-piloting the team's Rolex Series Daytona Prototype in Sonoma, California with Tomy Drissi for the Sonoma 250 at Infineon event on Saturday, August 26.

Pizzonia and Pastorelli will join the team in Montreal as they begin to prepare on Friday for the Grand Prix de Montreal.  Final qualifying will be hosted on Saturday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. EST, which will determine the starting lineup for Sunday's race.  The green flag will drop for the start of the Grand Prix de Montreal at 1:30 p.m. EST and can be seen live on NBC Sports or by logging onto www.champcar.ws and signing up for Race Director. Rocketsports

Unsers busted at the crime scene Unsers busted at the crime sceneUPDATE #2 Auto-racing legend Al Unser Sr. has a date with a judge on Sept. 5th to answer charges he interfered with officers during a SWAT standoff earlier this month.
According to the sheriff, Unser tried to drive through a road block set up on Aug. 9th as officers surrounded a carjacking suspect who had crashed into another car during a police pursuit.

When a deputy tried to arrest Unser, he reportedly refused to cooperate, jumped into his vehicle and put it in drive.

A short time later, his older brother, Bobby Unser Sr., showed up.

He was also arrested for interfering with police.

Neither brother has entered a plea. KRQE News 13

08/12/06 This link takes you to a video of Bobby Unser talking to the media about the arrest.

08/09/06 ALBUQUERQUE -- Right in the middle of today’s deadly carjacker pursuit, the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department arrested two members of Albuquerque’s famous Unser racing family.

Both IRL employee Al Unser Sr. and his brother Bobby Unser Sr. were booked into the Metro Detention Center this afternoon charged with failure to obey a police officer and resisting arrest. (Photo of Al Unser, right, Courtesy of the IRL)

Both walked out of the jail about 3:30 p.m.

The brothers, who have a combined seven checkered flags at the Indianapolis 500 and are huge names in the racing world, apparently thought their celebrity status meant they were above the law.

The police pursuit of a stolen car, complete with reported shotgun fire aimed at pursuing officers, ended about 11 a.m. when the suspect crashed into another car and then accidentally or deliberately shot himself to death with the sawed-off shotgun.  That dramatic conclusion happened at an intersection close to some Unser family property.

While the incident was still unfolding, Bernalillo County sheriff's investigators allege Al Unser started going through a roadblock in an attempt to get to his property.  Despite six or seven warnings to leave the area, he still refused to leave, saying it was his property--he owned it.

When the deputy told him he would be arrested, Unser allegedly said, “You can't take me to jail,” and began cussing at the officer.

Officers report he then jerked away and said, “Don't you know who I am? I'm Al Unser.”

A short time after he was arrested, Bobby Unser showed up.  Deputies said he, too, refused to leave and resisted arrest.  More at KRGE News

Sharp plans to do double duty at Infineon Sharp plans to do double duty at InfineonThanks to his father-in-law, Scott Sharp may have an extra advantage for the Aug. 27 Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma at Infineon Raceway.

Sharp, who will drive the No. 8 Delphi Panoz/Honda/Firestone for Fernandez Racing, will share a Daytona Prototype with his father-in-law, veteran sports car racer Greg Pickett in the Grand American Road Racing Series event on Aug. 26.

"My father-in-law decided a couple of weeks ago that he wanted to run that race," said Sharp, who also drove with his father-in-law at Laguna Seca earlier this year. "It's his home track, and he's done a lot of testing up there, so I think he's got a pretty good setup on the car." zzzz

Sharp, a former SCAA Trans Am champion, has a best finish of ninth in the five previous IndyCar Series road races. Still he relishes the opportunity to get some extra seat time in a car during the race weekend.

"After not racing road courses for 10 years, I'm still looking to get as much road-course time as I can get," he said. "Even though I think driving a Daytona Prototype doesn't really transfer a lot of information for what you're going to do in an IndyCar, even at the same track, it's always good to run more laps."

Though how many laps may be in question.

"Thursday afternoon there's a pretty good chunk of time, and my father-in-law certainly has tested enough up there that he's not going to need it," Sharp said. "I'm hopeful that I can spend a lot of that time in the session getting accustomed to the car and comfortable with the car and then really not run it a whole lot more that weekend.

"I'll let him practice it and qualify it. I'm sure he'll start the car, and if it's anything like Laguna, I couldn't even get him out of the car. I got in with about 20 minutes to go. He only does a couple races a year, so it's good for him to do most of the race. If I can help him out a little, that will be great. That way it should also keep me fresh for Sunday's race."

Howard still after race wins not title Howard still after race wins not titleIt may be the closest points race in Indy Pro Series history, but the lead is still Jay Howard's to lose.

The 25-year-old Englishman holds a 25-point lead over Jonathan Klein and has a 39-point lead on Bobby Wilson with three races remaining.

Howard, however, is not so much fixated on fending off the competition or even winning the championship as he is on accomplishing his personal goal - win five races.

"I'm not very happy I haven't won five races already this year," said Howard, who has driven the No. 7 Lucas Oil/Isilon/Sam Schmidt Motorsports entry into Victory Circle at Nashville and Kentucky. "That's my focus. You know, there's always going to be -- with that lead being a little bit bigger -- there's always going to be that little guy in the back of your head saying, 'Championship, championship.' zzzz

"As far as I'm concerned, I'm here to win every race and prove to everyone what I'm capable of and what Sam Schmidt's team is capable of. That's my focus; win every race. If I can't, as close to that as possible."

In addition to his two victories, Howard has recorded four additional top-five finishes in the season's nine races.

The next opportunity to not only win races, but also pad his lead in the race for the Firestone Firehawk Cup comes with a doubleheader race weekend at Infineon Raceway on Aug. 26 in the Carneros 100 and Aug. 27 in the Valley of the Moon 100.

The challenging part about sweeping a doubleheader, however, is that the winner of the first race starts sixth in the second race.

"Obviously, Infineon is going to be a big decider," said Howard, who finished third and second in the season's only other doubleheader weekend at St. Petersburg, Fla., in April. "If we go there and finish in the top two or three in both races, then I think that sort of secures the championship. We can go to Chicago, enjoy the race, no pressure at all and try to get it up to five wins total."

200th GP for McLaren Mercedes partnership 200th GP for McLaren Mercedes partnershipThis weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix marks the 200th race for the McLaren and Mercedes-Benz partnership, which began eleven years ago back in 1995, their successful Technology Partnership with ExxonMobil also reaching the 200 race milestone in Turkey. During this time, the Team McLaren Mercedes has secured two Drivers’ World Championships, both with Mika Hakkinen (1998 and 1999), one Constructors’ title (98) and 44 race wins. The team is now focused on adding to that total here in Istanbul, which would be a fitting way to celebrate the landmark.

“This is already the 200th Grand Prix together with our partner McLaren since 1995 – a period which has truly passed at racing speed. An anniversary like this is also an occasion to look back, although in all sporting competitions, the present and the future are obviously more important than the past. Since our first victory on 9 March 1997, the team has won 44 out of 166 Grands Prix; statistically one in every fourth race,” said Mercedes boss Norbert Haug. “But of course we had periods like last year when we won up to six consecutive Grands Prix; but on the other hand also had to cope with long periods without any victory. Since 1998, we have won three World Championship titles and finished runner-up on eight occasions, four times each in the Constructors’ and in the Drivers’ Championships, like 2005 in both categories. That year ten victories out of our 18 race starts were ultimately not enough to win the Championships.” zzzz

“This year so far, we have not yet translated our chances of winning into victories, having just achieved second and third positions on the podium. Therefore, everybody in the team wants to improve further. There is no doubt that the trend of the last races is leading in the right direction and we want to continue this on the challenging circuit at Istanbul. The track is demanding for chassis, tires, engine and drivers, and the race is without doubt one of the toughest challenges of the year. Kimi won last year’s debut race and we hope that this is a positive omen for him and Pedro for the second Turkish Grand Prix.”

The Turkish race is the only sail-away of the season. This allows the teams to use all the usual trackside facilities taken to races on mainland Europe. The Team McLaren Mercedes race transporters left the McLaren Technology Centre on Monday 14th August and drove to the North Eastern Italian port of Trieste, arriving on Wednesday 16th. The following day the transporters set sail across the Adriatic and Aegean seas before arriving in Istanbul on Sunday 20th August. The Team Communications Centre left Hungary on Monday 7th August and traveled directly to Trieste, before leaving for Istanbul on Wednesday 9th.

“There has been a focused period of preparation for the race at our headquarters’ and we travel to Turkey looking for a strong result at the Istanbul Speed Park where we ran well last year, taking the pole, victory and fastest lap,” said Martin Whitmarsh. “Tire degradation was medium at this track last year and we have selected, with Michelin, similar compounds to those used in Hungary and Hockenheim. These are above average in terms of hardness, but not as much as tracks such as Silverstone and Barcelona.” McLaren Mercedes

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